Into the office comes a glossy brochure on Milton Keynes.

You may remember there has been a debate in Birmingham about how best to cope with the expansion of the new town.

Both parties exchanged delegations and, rather than Milton Keynes being a threat, the hope is that each can benefit from the other.

For example, we hope to persuade Milton Keynes air travellers to fly from Birmingham International rather than Heathrow, and there could be benefits on the educational front. But the brochure serves firmly to emphasise that we need to keep Milton Keynes onside and friendly because it is really set to go places.

And that means Birmingham has to deliver.

Grant Seeley, director of inward investment for Milton Keynes Partnership, said: "Milton Keynes is buzzing, not just with interest from developers, investors and businesses, but existing companies expanding in the city."

He cites in the past financial year - inquiries at a three-year high, #1 billion of investment committed and 50 inward investment successes.

The brochure makes some other quite revealing claims.

It states: "At 13 per cent, Milton Keynes' business growth is nearly three times the national average. Employment is growing by three per cent a year. Milton Keynes looks and feels like no other UK city. It performs like no other city, too. A 21st century vision has been drawn up to maintain the city's advantage, with a significant number of projects either under way or at an advanced planning stage."

Now Milton Keynes is only 350,000 people against Birmingham's one million or so, and Birmingham's business strength is immense, so we must be a little wary of the Milton Keynes hype.

But it shows just how desperate are others to succeed and how we in Birmingham must redouble our efforts to reformat our business base.

Much work is being done on that front with regional development agency Advantage West Midlands to the fore. But partnership with Milton Keynes needs to be worked on big-time.

Because I am sure we can learn and win business from them and they can do likewise from us.

Try and pretend they don't exist and before we know it they will be coming up on the rails pinching work we would much rather have landed.

Still, our business leaders seem on the ball.