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Official: CABE and Design Council in bid to merge

CABE and the Design Council have confirmed plans to team up as a ‘one-stop-shop’ for design but must persuade ministers to back the idea

The anticipated ‘phoenix plan’ which could guarantee CABE’s survival comes just three months after the body’s future was thrown into doubt by Government spending cuts.

CABE lost £5 million worth of DCMS funding in October and has been in continuous negotiations with housing minister Grant Shapps over its remaining grant which comes from his office, the Department for Communities and local Government (CLG)

The respective boards met last week to agree the bid which, with ministerial backing, could see a new ‘one stop-shop’ for design with a remit for products, services, buildings and places.

The news comes as welcome relief to CABE staff and commissioners who faced a scheduled official wind-up of the organisation in March, but Shapps must approve the double quango team up before it can go ahead.

A Design Council spokesperson said: ‘The trustees of the Design Council and the CABE Commissioners are unanimous in their support for the idea of our two organisations joining forces in order to strengthen the idea of design in all its forms at the heart of social and economic growth.  This is now a matter for decision by Ministers.’

Backed by the Department for Business Innovation & Skills (BIS), the Design Council unlike CABE missed a funding axe blow due to its work on product design and brands. The AJ revealed last week that CABE was in merger talks with the Design Council.

CABE’s funding was withdrawn as part of a raft of money-saving measures included in the government’s comprehensive spending review. The decision was made despite the body passing prime minister David Cameron’s public bodies review test.

It is understood CABE’s grant was axed to guarantee the government’s free access to museums programme.

Readers' comments (1)

  • The issue for architecture and architects is that it is never 'owned' by any one department. In addition whilst it is seen as part of the creative industries and promoted as such abroad, it doesn't sit within the rest of the creative industries area. Although not ideal, it is surely infinitely better than languishing in departmental abyss. An added bonus is that one of the few supporters of architecture, Ed Vaizey, MP, has the creative industries as part of his portfolio. Victoria Thornton, Director, Open-City

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