Baroness Wilcox says Cabe announcement is ‘imminent’

Baroness Wilcox, Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Business, Innovation and Skills, says an announcement on the future of the Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment, which is expected to merge with the Design Council, is ‘imminent’.

Baroness Wilcox was responding yesterday in the House of Lords to questions about design put forward by Baroness Whitaker, a member of the recently established Parliamentary Design Commission, Design Council chairman Lord Bichard, and others.

In answer to a question on the design of accessible housing, Baroness Wilcox said, ‘We recognise that good design of living environments can greatly enhance quality of life for inhabitants. Following the decision by the Department for Media, Culture and Sport to withdraw funding from Cabe, we are actively considering future arrangements for delivering its functions. An announcement is imminent.’

Earlier this week Culture Secretary Ed Vaizey appeared to confirm the merger between the Design Council and Cabe when he said he was delighted the Government had managed to effect ‘a secure future’ for the two bodies. No official announcement has yet been made.

Speaking in the House of Lords, Baroness Wilcox also expressed continuing Government support for the Design Council. She said, ‘The Government is committed to continued funding and support for the Design Council and we are working together to implement the recommendations of the Temple Review.’

She added, ‘One of the recommendations was that the council should restructure to incorporate a broader cross-section of industry and society, with representation at both national and local level.’

Baroness Wilcox also praised the Design Council’s Design Bugs Out initiative for the NHS, saying, ‘I am sure that other Government departments will start to look at the sort of help that the Design Council could give them in saving money and promoting better practice.’

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