Design Centres: Emphasis is on fostering innovation and creativity

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Indy Politics

A national network of "innovation centres" is to be set up to help foster new design talent. It will include a showcase for British design in London.

But there will be also reforms to tax credits for research and development to encourage early and innovative use of design in manufacturing and industry.

The tax incentives and the innovation centres were among a package of measures recommended in the Cox report, written by Sir George Cox, the chairman of the Design Council, and published at the end of last week.

It took evidence from a wide range of bodies on how to build a stronger relationship between businesses and creative professionals and how to strengthen the links between university departments and industry. David Kester, the chief executive of the Design Council, said they were "delighted" at the Government's positive response, which follows two years' sustained lobbying.

The Chancellor said: "The design of new products and services is now such an important sector that we propose a network of creativity and innovation centres - one in each region offering start-up help to new design talent and supported by an expanded national centre in London to showcase British design." The Lighthouse in Glasgow already acts as a design talent showcase.

The arts world, however, was disappointed. Campaigners led by the National Art Collections Fund (Art Fund) had proposed an income tax incentive to encourage people to give gifts to public collections. The scheme, which it calls Living and Giving, was aimed at addressing the fall in public funding in acquisitions in British museums and galleries. The Treasury said it intended to look at other ways of encouraging philanthropy in the arts.

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