It will have almost 500 members, including from Bedford-shire, and will be served by a committee chaired by former IoD South East Midlands branch chairman Philip Smith.

The changes, which also see a new Northamptonshire branch, are the result of intense lobbying by local committee members led by Mr Smith. After 12 months of campaigning, he said, the IoD had recognised the growing importance of Milton Keynes.

Mr Smith (pictured) plans that the branch will focus on the interests of IoD members working locally. It will be served by a committee drawn from the former South East Midlands branch but Mr Smith appealed for new blood to join.

He said: “This is a great opportunity for the IoD to position itself to meet the growing economic importance of our city.”

An IoD spokesman said Milton Keynes would now form part of its South region: “The IoD has realigned the branch boundaries in the South East Midlands to reflect the regional boundaries of other major business organisations and official bodies that have an influence on business matters at a regional level.”

The Milton Keynes branch will launch at the IoD’s Business Leaders Dinner, run jointly with the Northamptonshire branch, on November 15 at Whittlebury Hall. The guest speaker is former BBC reporter Jenny Bond.

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