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John Mills – Biography

John Mills is a businessman, economist and author who has long been involved in political affairs. 

He is also the founder, Chairman and majority shareholder of JML, the global consumer goods company which sells high-volume consumer products in the UK and 85 countries worldwide. 

Business

John started his career selling household goods door-to-door as a student in 1959. After two years national service in the Royal Navy, a six-month spell at Unilever and a series of other business ventures, John founded JML from his basement in Camden in 1986. 

Under his stewardship, JML has become a global multi-channel retailer selling over 15 million products a year. Today, JML is one of Britain’s most successful exporting businesses employing over 250 people. The success of the company has helped put a JML product in more than 7 out of 10 homes in the UK. 

Politics and economics

John Mills has been a Labour Party supporter, donor, and activist for over 50 years. As an economist, his main interests are the relatively poor performance of western economies compared with those in the East and the UK’s relationship with the EU. 

For many years, John was a senior Labour elected member of Camden Council, the London Borough’s Association and the Association of Metropolitan Authorities. In the late 1980s, he was deputy chairman of the London Dockland Development Corporation. 

John was formerly the Chairman and then Deputy Chairman of Vote Leave, Co-chair of Business for Britain, and the founder of Labour Leave, all campaigning for Brexit during the run-up to the June 2016 EU referendum. 

Today, he is now joint-chair and treasurer of the Foundation for Independence. He is also the Vice-Chairman of the Economic Research Council and founder of Labour Future and The John Mills Institute for Prosperity, all concerned in different ways with the UK’s economic and political prospects. 

A committed and well-respected advocate for growth and enterprise, John Mills is an accomplished writer and has published over 12 books over the last 40 years on a range of political and economic issues.

Having appeared on all major UK broadcasters including Radio 4's The Today Programme and BBC’s Question Time, John remains a go-to commentator and analyst on issues relating to the UK economy, exchange rate policy and Britain’s withdrawal from the European Union. 

Personal

In 2018, he founded the John Mills Charitable Trust, which supports organisations active in economic and political research, as well as other worthy causes. He is a supporter of the mental health charity SANE. John lives and works in London. 

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The past tells us that reviving manufacturing is the best way to increase productivity, growth and living standards From John Mills

In this latest piece, John Mills argues that the only way to secure a brighter economic future from Coronavirus is by creating the conditions for manufacturers to thrive and compete, just like we did in 1932.

The Road to Recovery: Reviving Manufacturing after Coronavirus From John Mills

A report published jointly by the John Mills Institute for Prosperity and Civitas on why Britain should revive our depleted manufacturing industry after Covid-19.

Why manufacturing and exports will be key to our recovery From John Mills

In the face of coronavirus, we are now facing the possibility of a lost decade, with years of low or even negative growth. The government has been quick to provide emergency support to businesses through cash injections, job retention schemes, and deferred tax bills. But this will not be enough.

John Mills
Contact John Mills

“To increase prosperity, growth and equality by putting a more successful economic future at the heart of British political discourse.”