|CIMA WM Chairman, Paul Hooper-Keeley, with Lord Digby Jones|
His views on the Public Sector remain a subject of great debate. He has stressed that, "if fundamental reform does not take place, from working practices right through to pension provision, we will end up with an ever-diminishing private sector trying to pay for, and provide pensions for, an ever increasing and inefficient, unproductive, self-interested public sector".
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 adviser to Deloitte and Barclays Capital, held a variety of non-executive board roles, and was the unpaid UK Skills Envoy. In this role he became outraged about the levels of adult illiteracy and innumeracy in the UK, and made the point that we cannot hope to have a safer and healthier society if people lack self-respect or aspiration.
In July 2007 he was appointed Minister of State for UK Trade & Investment and became a life peer taking the title, Digby, Lord Jones of Birmingham Kb. Forthright and, as ever, loyal to British business he spent the next 15 months “doing it in a different way”. He did not join the party of government and without the ambition to progress in politics he concentrated on the business of promoting Britain across the world, travelling to 31 countries in 45 overseas visits.