Business guru Lord Digby, an adviser to Worcestershire-based commercial property developers Barberry Developments, met an invited group of businessmen to discuss the implications of the Chancellor’ George Osborne’s Autumn Statement.
Among the measures likely to have a major positive impact on firms was the large increase in capital allowances and the 25% rise in the budget for the UKTi, both described as great news by Lord Digby.
The former director general of the CBI was greeted by Barberry board members, including chairman Gil Hayward and managing director Jon Bellfield, at the company’s headquarters in Belbroughton, Worcestershire.
Among those attending were Ashley Hollinshead, of tax consultants Deloitte, Steve Smith, of construction company Benniman, Peter Masters, of logistics firm Mini Clipper , Paul Skipp, of public relations agency Barques PR, and Tom Westley, of Westley Bros.
All of the businesses said they had taken steps to adapt to the new period of austerity and were now prospering, some enjoying sustained growth and winning significant new business both in the UK and abroad.
Jon Bellfield said: “It is always a pleasure to welcome Lord Digby and we value his expert advice very highly. It was fascinating to hear his views on the Chancellor’s Autumn Statement and how business is adapting to the challenges presented by the economy both in the UK and across the globe. He has been a friend of Barberry Developments for many years. It was also very heartening to hear the business success stories from our friends around the table.”
Lord Digby said: “I have worked with Barberry for many years. They are successful in so many ways, not least in their appreciation of the wider society in which we all operate. Events such as this enable people from many different parts of the business spectrum to share thoughts and ideas at a time of such great importance for the UK economy.”
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 Triumph Motorcycles Limited, is Corporate Ambassador for Jaguar Cars and JCB, and is a senior adviser to BP plc.