Peter Mileham, the incoming President of the British Chambers of Commerce, will tell the Shadow Secretary of State for Trade and Industry, Alan Duncan MP, that the UK spends too much money and effort on regulations - tax and PAYE in particular - and businesses are sick of being an unpaid debt collector, benefit agency and tax collector.

The warning will come at the organisation's AGM at which Mr. Duncan will be listening to business' concerns over the current economic outlook. Mr. Mileham will say: "We hear endless debates about the management of the economy; the balance of tax and spending; and control of inflation. These are the things which people think of as 'the economy'. But they are not. The economy is people providing goods and services."

"If businesses are taxed too hard, waste time and money on eye-watering regulations, can't find skilled staff and can't get goods to market they will not succeed or not even want to carry on. For some this is already the case. It's time we got a grip on public policy so that it supports businesses."

Mr. Mileham's other priorities for his term will focus on transport, skills and business support. "Our members are fed up to the back teeth with the lack of progress and the vast cost burden of sitting in traffic jams because of congestion on our motorways and roads: a cost in the region of £27,000 a year for every company in the land."

On skills the BCC President will urge the Government to stop focusing on the million who don't want to work and give real support to those who do and show they are motivated, but lack the basic skills to perform in more competitive markets. Mr. Mileham will say that "Education in itself though is not enough. Businesses need people who are trained in the disciplines of going to work and have the right attitude to it when they get there."

The final plank of Mr. Mileham's agenda will be the reform of business support after the NAO's unflattering assessment of the Small Business Service. He will say that "Businesses need a strong advocate at the centre of government and the NAO's report demonstrates that this simply is not happening. The BCC will continue to work closely with the Government to promote a better deal for small businesses - the engine of the UK's economy."


About Peter Mileham, DL

Peter Mileham's (63) early career was in the Construction Industry, joining the Shepherd Building Group of York in 1964. His main responsibilities at that time were in the field of speculative housing development. In the early 1970's Peter was promoted and transferred to Manchester where he was Senior Surveyor on a number of significant contracts in the North West.

Being naturally inclined towards the promotional side of business, Peter joined Liquid Plastics Ltd of Preston, manufacturers of specialist coatings for the construction industry, as a Sales Executive in 1973, rapidly gaining promotion to Scottish Sales Manager and then Deputy National Sales Manager. In 1979 the expansion of the business demanded the formation of a Marketing Department, which he founded, joining the Board of Directors as Marketing Director in 1982.  This position was held until 2003 over which time turnover had increased from roughly £300,000 to over £40m today, with markets in 150 countries around the world. Over the past ten years, Peter has played a major role in establishing branches in Belgium and the USA and setting up two additional manufacturing businesses in the UK which now collectively operate as the Iotech Group.

Currently in the role of Commercial Director, Peter heads a team devoted to seeking out and exploiting new market opportunities internationally.

In addition to his directorships of Liquid Plastics Ltd, Peter is the Local Chairman (Preston & North West) of the Yorkshire Bank and a member of SABRE, a body devoted to supporting Britain's Army Reservists and Employers.

Strongly interested in business development and encouraging small businesses to succeed, Peter joined the Chamber of Commerce movement in 1990 and has served as Director and President of North and West Lancs Chamber of Commerce, Vice Chairman of North West Chambers, Director of British Chambers of Commerce and Chairman of the British Venezuelan Chamber of Commerce. He is politically well connected and has, over the past twenty years, maintained cross-party involvement having worked on a number of Government sponsored research projects as well as lobbying on matters of interest to business.

Peter was born in Scarborough, Yorkshire, where he was educated at local schools.  He went on to further education at York & Hull Technical Colleges qualifying as a Member of the Chartered Institute of Building. Peter is a keen supporter of the arts and is married with two daughters.

He became Deputy Lieutenant of Lancashire in 2004 and, in this capacity, is a member of the Duchy of Lancaster Benevolent Fund Committee.