Shadow Business Minister Bill Esterson joined myself and businesses on Yarm High Street to discuss the handover of Yarm Business Forum to the businesses themselves. I have held regular meetings with businesses and Neil Schneider, Chief Executive of Stockton Borough Council, to discuss some of the concerns they have surrounding parking, business rates and how to attract more people to the historic market town.

It’s a tough time to run a small business, with rents and rates high and internet competition. But Yarm has the strength to succeed, and it was great to meet so many positive people who want to make a difference to their area.

From this, we agreed to set up Yarm Business Forum, which meets every few months. .With the recent decline in high street shops, it is critical that we continue to support and strengthen the presence of local businesses in Stockton South.