Skills envoy job at Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills up for grabs as Lord Digby Jones moves to Department for Business and Enterprise

Lord Digby Jones is no longer the government skills envoy, the Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills has confirmed.

As Jones was appointed minister for trade promotion in prime minister Gordon Brown’s government of ‘all the talents’ earlier this month, the department has said the two posts are incompatible.

A Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills spokesman told Personnel Today: “The two posts [skills envoy and minister] are mutually exclusive. Once a minister, the position of envoy lapses.

“It is not for me to say whether there will be a new skills envoy position,” the spokesman continued. “The government will make an announcement in due course.”

But the Conservative party has urged the government to waste no time in clarifying the matter.

Alan Duncan, shadow secretary of state for business and enterprise, said: “The government should urgently clarify the future role of the skills envoy and explain what steps they will take to ensure that the development of skills policy fully engages the business community.”

“Given what [Jones] has said about Labour and Gordon Brown in the past, it is surprising that he has decided to join a government which has done so much to hamper business success with extra regulation and taxes,” he added. 
Duncan also called for the government to ensure businesses take responsibility for the growing skills crisis, documented by the Leitch Review.

“Digby Jones has been forthright in his criticism of the government’s performance on skills policy and had stated that the levels of adult literacy are a ‘national disgrace’. We need to see more business involvement in skills training,” he said.

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