Lord Digby Jones (right) joins the Barberry Developments team (from left) Jon Bellfield, Mike Winters, Paul Watson, Gil Hayward, Martyn Cartwright, Henry Bellfield and Alex Watson at the company’s headquarters in Belbroughton, West Midlands.
The Government’s new Enterprise Zones and other measures announced in George Osborne’s recent Budget were at the top of the agenda when business expert Lord Digby Jones visited Barberry Developments.
The former director general of the CBI was greeted by board members of the commercial property developers, including chairman Gil Hayward and managing director Jon Bellfield, at the company’s headquarters in Belbroughton, Worcestershire.
Lord Digby, who has been an advisor to Barberry for several years, discussed the announcement that the West Midlands would get two of the 21 new Enterprise Zones announced by the Chancellor a few days ago.
Business leaders have welcomed the news that Birmingham and Solihull, and the Black Country, will be among the locations for the job creation and business support initiatives which offer rates and tax concessions in order to encourage business growth. Other new measures and legislation affecting the commercial property development sector were discussed by the Barberry board.
Jon Bellfield said: “It is always a pleasure to welcome Digby and we value his expert advice very highly. He has been a friend of Barberry Developments for many years. Barberry is currently involved in several major projects, and we are always actively looking for opportunities, so there was much to discuss.”
Lord Digby Jones said: “In these challenging times it is a delight to feel such a sense of professionalism and intelligent investment in a property business here in the heart of the West Midlands. Cuts are essential to rebalance the economy but they will never grow it, and Government must now do everything it can to enable the private sector to take up the slack, create jobs and make tax-generating profits.”
Barberry Developments recently lodged an outline planning application for a £50 million superstore and retail development at the site of the former Royal Mail Sorting Centre in Coventry. It is also involved in plans to build around 800 homes and create a new ‘community village’ in Droitwich, Worcestershire.
Lord Digby spent six and a half years as Director General of the CBI. In 2005 he was knighted for his services to business and became Sir Digby Jones in the Queen’s New Years Honours List.
When he left the CBI in 2006 he spent the next 12 months in the private sector as advisor to Deloitte and Barclays Capital, held a variety of non-executive board roles, and was the unpaid UK Skills Envoy. In 2007 he was appointed Minister of State for UK Trade & Investment and became a life peer taking the title, Digby, Lord Jones of Birmingham. Now, in addition to his role as an active crossbencher in the House of Lords, he serves as Chairman of the International Business Advisory Boards at HSBC and British Airways, Chairman of Triumph Motorcycles Limited, and is Corporate Ambassador for Jaguar Cars and JCB.