Staged at Bedford Swan Hotel by the Business Beacon network group on Friday, Foreign Office minister and North East Beds MP Alistair Burt returned from a trip to the Middle East to join in the breakfast discussion.
He joined up with Bedford and Kempston MP Richard Fuller and Bedford Borough Mayor Dave Hodgson to face an audience of 70 key business people.
Questions from the floor naturally included a number on the prospects of the economy locally.
When it came to support Bedford business, Dave Hodgson encouraged everybody to ‘talk Bedford up’ and keep disagreements in private, while Richard Fuller urged support for local entrepreneurs - joking he had only ever bought one thing in Milton Keynes, and that was a train ticket out.
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Alistair Burt pressed for economies of smaller towns such as Biggleswade and Sandy to be given attention too.
Other subjects were touched on as well - including how to halt the declining number of voters at elections, and concerns over budget cuts to legal aid.
The event was chaired by Peter Mount, partner of Woodfines Solicitors who sponsored the event.
Business Beacon organiser Ben von Broembsen said afterwards: “We had a great turn out of key people and the panel gave some valuable and informative answers.
“It was not party political, it was all about business.”
Ben, who runs IT support company Cirrus Tech Services Ltd, asked the panel when broadband services were going to be improved in rural areas. This prompted Alistair Burt to suggest BT was brought before businesses in Bedfordshire to push the programme along. Ben is now considering a Business Beacon follow up event on this theme.