Government will spend “under £3m” for two years as merger with Design Council confirmed

Communities department funding for the work of Cabe will be slashed by more than half as it becomes part of the Design Council.

The chief executive of the Design Council, David Kester, told Building that after the merger, Cabe’s activities would receive “under £3m” per year for two years, after which no funding has been agreed. In 2009/10 Cabe received £6.9m in core funding from the communities department, making the figure a cut of 57%.

However, combined with the complete cut in the £4m culture department funding already announced for the quango, the total loss of core funding is at least 75%. In addition many of Cabe’s specifically funded programmes, such as the £1.4m it was paid by Partnership for Schools for its work on the Building Schools for the Future programme, and the £15m Sea Change programme, have come to an end.

Kester said it was inevitable that the amount of work Cabe will be able to do, particularly around its Design Review role, will diminish. He said: “The volume of work will be affected undoubtedly. There will be less reviews than there currently are. However we are be able to take across 20 people who all have a deep knowledge and specialism – we’re very lucky to have that level of quality.”

Cabe currently carries out around 300 reviews of major projects a year.

In his first interview since the merger was confirmed on Friday, Kester said the move was inevitably driven in part by practical considerations with the government wanting to cut funding. However, he said: “We very quickly realised there was a much bigger opportunity here – about unifying skills in terms of design at a point in the economic cycle when the need for those services is at its greatest.”

More to follow…