South East Regional Minister Jonathan Shaw and James Brathwaite, chairman of the South East England Development Agency hosted two meetings in the city to explore how the current economic climate is affecting people and businesses.
The fourth meeting of the South East Economic Delivery Council was followed by a regional lending seminar with Gareth Thomas, the Minister for Trade, Development and Consumer Affairs.
Mr Shaw (pictured) said: “Milton Keynes is a key centre for investment and growth in our region and as such I was very keen to hold these important events in the city. It is hugely important for us to engage with businesses and other local organisations, especially during the downturn, and SEEDC provides an ideal platform for us to tackle the issues which are important at a local level.”
He praised the initiative of Milton Keynes Council, the city’s Economy and Learning Partnership and other partners in staging an Economic Summit late last year and developing an Economy Task Group.
“During this difficult period, it is important the region shares best practices, which is exactly why it is so important for the SEEDC members to hear how such initiatives are working," Mr Shaw said.
SEEDC considered how best to offer solutions in terms of support from banks and access to funding, to housing and regeneration. Members were also keen to share lessons and best practice across the South East.
The Regional Lending Seminar, run in conjunction with the Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform built on the government’s Real Help Now initiative, informed local businesses on help available to support them through the downturn. Advisers from Business Link and representatives from banks were on hand with practical advice and assistance.
Mr Brathwaite, said: “Between us, we are working hard to ensure that the government understands the vital contribution businesses in the South East make to the UK economy. SEEDA is uniquely placed to pull together business leaders, expert advisers from Business Link and government ministers, in order to explain to local businesses what help is available to support them through the economic downturn.
“We want to ensure that the South East is in the best position it can be when it comes out of the recession. Without a doubt, when the good times come, the South East will be ready for them.”