Tuesday, 30 October 2012

Stephen Metcalfe MP: We must not settle for second best

Stephen Metcalfe, Member of Parliament for South Basildon and East Thurrock, took to the stage at the Basildon Education Services Trust (BEST) annual conference to welcome attendees with an inspiring speech about the importance of education in Basildon.

The conference, attended by over 250 teachers from across Basildon, aimed to help  build capacity into the education system, to investigate ways in which schools can work in partnership, and to focus on strategic ways of raising aspiration and achieving impact in schools.

Stephen Metcalfe, who recently became an honorary patron for the BEST Basildon Challenge, commented:  “I was delighted to have been asked to speak at this event. I am passionate about education and passionate about giving the young people in my constituency the best possible foundations on which to build the rest of their lives.”

The conference consisted of a number of workshops in which teachers from across the district were able to discuss ideas and share best practice on a number of issues ranging from increasing the impact of literacy in the classroom, to adapting to changes in national testing.

Mr Metcalfe added:  “Forums such as this are vital if we are to drive forward the education agenda in Basildon. The message from BEST is that we must not settle for second best. We must raise aspiration; we must improve attainment and we must work together to overcome the many challenges facing schools in Basildon. I wholeheartedly endorse this message and will do all I can to support teachers and staff in achieving these goals.”

Thursday, 25 October 2012

Stephen Metcalfe MP stands up for broadband in Thurrock

Stephen Metcalfe, local MP for South Basildon and East Thurrock, rose on the floor of the House of Commons to question the Minister about Broadband provision in Thurrock.

Mr Metcalfe asked the Minister from the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs: “Although Thurrock is an urban constituency on the edge of London, a large proportion of it is rural and lacks decent broadband provision...can the Minister confirm that villages such as Bulphan, Orsett and Horndon-on-the-Hill will be in line for improved broadband provision?”

The Minister from the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs responded, saying: “ He makes a good point: instead of talking only about the most remote communities, we must remember that there are rural communities close to urban areas that have appalling broadband, too.”

Stephen Metcalfe commented: “It is vital that semi-rural areas are not ignored in the roll out of super-fast broadband. I will continue to champion this message and, whilst there are no certainties, I will do everything I can to ensure that Bulphan, Orsett and Horndon-on-the-Hill are included in any broadband plans.”

Stephen Metcalfe MP: Up to £20 billion financing boost will help small businesses in Basildon & Thurrock

The Government has announced plans to help thousands of small and medium-sized businesses get access to affordable finance to help build jobs and grow the economy.

Under the scheme, leading companies will be able to deliver up to £20 billion of new cheaper finance to their suppliers, including many UK SMEs.

The Government will also offer thi scheme to its own suppliers, starting with the first community pharmacies in England, unlocking up to £800 million of new credit for around 4,500 pharmacy businesses.

Stephen Metcalfe said: This Government is backing businesses that want to get ahead and build jobs here in Basildon & Thurrock. This year, there are over 460,000 small and medium-sized businesses in the East of England, an increase of nearly 34,000 since last year. This new scheme will help these businesses secure the finance they need to protect jobs and help our economy compete in the global race.

“The scheme will mean that 4,500 pharmacies across the country will have access to up to £800 million of finance support right away. This is great news for the people of South Essex.”

Local MP Hails Physics’ Contribution to the UK Economy

At the launch of the Institute of Physics (IOP)’s new report, The Importance of Physics to the UK Economy, Stephen Metcalfe MP praised the significant contribution that physics makes to the national economy.

The Parliamentary launch on 17th October, marked the publication of the IOP’s latest findings which show that physics-based businesses employ more than one million people directly in the UK. That’s 4% of the total workforce – more than the finance, banking and insurance sector or the construction sector. 

The report, produced in collaboration with Deloitte, shows that physics-based businesses contribute 8.5% of the UK’s total economic output and export £100 billion annually. If indirect effects such as supply chains are taken into account, the sector supports a total of 4 million jobs contributing £220 billion to the UK economy. 

Since 2005 the total number of registered businesses in the physics-based sector has risen by more than 30%, highlighting that physics is helping drive the economic recovery by playing an important role in emerging sectors.

Stephen Metcalfe MP, said: “This report demonstrates that physics has the potential to turn around the UK economy. With so many jobs dependent on physics-based businesses, it’s vital that they receive the focussed support that they need.” 

Professor Paul Hardaker, Chief Executive at the Institute of Physics, added: “I’m really grateful to Stephen and his parliamentary colleagues for recognising the valuable contribution that physics makes to the economy. 

“Physics is all around us and has changed the way we live.  This report not only identifies the value of physics to the economy but also how important it is that we are able to engender the next generation of physicists.”

Jonathan Flint, Chief Executive of Oxford Instruments, a FTSE250 company with an annual turnover of £337 million and a leading provider of high-technology systems, also spoke at the event. He said: “100% of our revenue is dependent on the physics discipline."

“Physics can play an integral part in recreating an economy that we can all be proud of.”

Tuesday, 23 October 2012

Stephen Metcalfe MP welcomes the proposal to save Kent View Road Recreation Ground

Stephen Metcalfe, Member of Parliament for South Basildon and East Thurrock, has welcomed Basildon Council’s review of the sale of Kent View Road recreation ground in order to allow proper consideration of a detailed business plan which has been produced by a group of local residents.

Stephen said “I have had numerous meetings with both residents and the Council and been consistent in my view that this was an inappropriate development that would have an adverse impact on the area.”

“My aim was always for the Council and the residents to keep an open mind about the future of the site. I was pleased that the Council said that if the situation changed then their decision to develop the site could change.  I am therefore pleased that the situation has changed and that they have found away to save this important local facility.”

“I believe that this has been made possible by the Council sourcing alternative funding for the Sporting Village and a proposal from local residents, whereby they have agreed to take responsibility for the running and maintenance of the recreation ground.”

“The plans will now be submitted for detailed scrutiny by Council officers to ensure that they are robust and financially viable and I would like to congratulate both local residents and the Council for coming to what on the face of it appears to be a sensible compromise that will see the recreation ground saved.”

“I wish the Vange Community Group every success with their plans and offer my support to them as they take on this exciting and ambitious venture.”

Monday, 22 October 2012

Stephen Metcalfe MP becomes Honorary Patron for the BEST Basildon Challenge

Stephen with the Basildon Challenge 2011 Great Debate winners.

Stephen Metcalfe, Member of Parliament for South Basildon and East Thurrock, has accepted the invitation to be the Honorary Patron for the Basildon Education Services Trust (BEST) Basildon Challenge for 2012/2013.

The Basildon Challenge is an integral part of BEST’s mission to raise aspirations, expectations and achievements in the schools of Basildon, allowing young people from the area to compete on an even playing field with those from across the UK.

Mr Metcalfe commented: “I am truly honoured and delighted to have been invited to be the Honorary Patron for this year’s Basildon Challenge. I am passionate about education and a great supporter of the work of BEST so I am extremely excited to be involved with the organisation.”

Designed to stretch, excite and challenge pupils to raise their aspirations and achievement, the Basildon Challenge 2012/2013 centres around the theme ‘Elements which make up Basildon’ and will include activities such as the Rocket Challenge, the 3D Arts Challenge and The Great Debate, as well as inter-school competitions.

Stephen Metcalfe added: “From Science to the Creative and Expressive Arts, The Basildon Challenge broadens and deepens access to the curriculum in a fun and exciting way. I look forward to engaging with schools and pupils and would like to thank BEST for the opportunity to be involved with this fantastic initiative.”


Thursday, 18 October 2012

Remembrance Parade Rescue by Stephen Metcalfe MP

Stanford-Le-Hope’s Remembrance Day Parade has been saved from cancellation after an insurance headache was solved.
On Friday it looked as though the popular event to remember fallen soldiers was not going ahead on Sunday, November 11, as there was not enough cash to pay the £203 liability insurance.
Traditionally the fee was paid by the Stanford-Le-Hope branch of the Royal British Legion, until it closed down following the death of its last member, John Neumann.
David Meacham, chairman of the town’s Remembrance Day Committee, said: “Since the Horndon-on-the-Hill branch of the British Legion took over the Stanford-Le-Hope branch, it has been an uphill struggle to continue the Remembrance Day Parade for the fallen, as apparently each branch is only insured to have one event on Remembrance Day and Horndon have their own.
“We have been lucky the last two years and have been able to get umbrella cover with organisations in Stanford. It was noted that 2012 could not be covered by the usual means, which meant that this year’s parade and remembrance service would have to be cancelled if no funds could be found to cover insurance.”
David put out an email to everyone he could think of about the parade’s potential demise and within house had received several offers of help.
The eventual saviour was Conservative MP for East Thurrock Stephen Metcalfe, who made some calls to Royal British Legion’s headquarters and discovered the Stanford-le-Hope event could be covered under its national policy.
David said: “It is a huge relief that this year’s event can go ahead. It is really great to see that the community spirit is set to rally around for what is a national event.  So here is hoping for a sunny, dry day for this year’s event”.
(Thurrock Gazette, Friday 19th October 2012)

Stephen Metcalfe MP reiterates support for relocation of Bail Hostel

Stephen Metcalfe, local MP for South Basildon and East Thurrock, reiterated his support for the relocation of the Felmores Bail Hostel at the Felmores Approved Premises Drop in Session at Northlands Park Community Centre on Friday.

The location of the Bail Hostel has long been a source of contention with many residents unhappy that sex offenders are being housed in a residential area, within the vicinity of a local park and two primary schools.

The drop-in session provided a forum for local residents to ask pressing questions and to air their concerns with the Probation Services, Police, Council Staff and the local Member of Parliament, Stephen Metcalfe.

Mr. Metcalfe commented: “I can appreciate why my constituents are concerned about the location of the Bail Hostel and I support the campaign to relocate the Hostel to a more suitable location.”

“I have written to the new Justice Minister to seek confirmation that he will honour his predecessor’s commitment to move the premises if an alternative location can be found and I hope that we can eventually reach a solution that local residents feel happy with.”

Stephen Metcalfe MP starts the Run for Water

Stephen Metcalfe, local MP for South Basildon and East Thurrock, started runners and walkers on their way at the Thurrock Thameside Rotary Club’s, Global run for water on Sunday 14th October.

The event was organised as part of a wider Rotary project to raise money and awareness for water projects in India and across the developing world.

The runners and walkers who had congregated at Beacon Field, Dry Street enjoyed a rare sunny day as they made their across the local countryside both enjoying the challenge and drawing attention to a problem that affects the lives of millions of people in India every year.

Stephen Metcalfe MP commented: “I was delighted to be asked to start this fantastic event. India may be growing fast but vast numbers of people do not have access to clean water. In order just to meet the Millennium Development Goal of halving the number of people without sanitation, access will need to be provided for 21 million people every year. I think this highlights just how big the problem is.”

Globally this is a problem affecting 2.5 billion people, meaning that one in six children do not have access to clean water. In India, this means that for every 1,000 children, 68 die before their fifth birthday from preventable water born diseases. The Rotary club have long since been involved in tackling this problem.

Stephen added: “I would like to offer my sincere thanks to the Rotary Club for organising this event and for all of their hard work in raising money for good causes.  I look forward to this becoming an annual event and hearing how the Global Run for Water has changed lives. I wish the Rotary Club well in their continuing efforts to raise awareness of important issues.”

Wednesday, 17 October 2012

Stephen Metcalfe MP backs Guide Dogs' Safe and Sound campaign

"MP sets blistering lap time on Scalextric track at party conference"

Stephen Metcalfe MP is supporting a Guide Dogs campaign which highlights the potential danger that quiet electric and hybrid vehicles present to visually impaired people.

Stephen Metcalfe MP showed his support for the Safe and Sound campaign when he visited the Guide Dogs' stand at the Conservative Party Conference. The imaginative stand featured a large Scalextric track, complete with Guide Stig dressed in a white racing suit and helmet. Delegates were invited to post their best times on a leader board.

After achieving a respectable lap time of 3.0 seconds, Stephen Metcalfe MP said: “I am delighted to be able to support Guide Dog’s innovative Safe and Sound Campaign. Quiet vehicles pose a real danger to all pedestrians, especially those living with sight loss.”

Guide Dogs launched its Safe and Sound campaign at this year’s party conferences. Last month the charity released a report called Silent But Deadly, which examines the danger that quiet vehicles pose to blind and partially sighted pedestrians, who rely on hearing them approach in order to cross roads safely.

Guide Dogs believes that the risks will only increase as more quiet vehicles are sold, and so the charity wants these types of vehicle to be fitted with artificial engine noises so pedestrians can hear them approaching.

Stephen added: "Guide Dogs did a great job of raising awareness of a serious issue in a fun way and I sincerely hope this they achieve the desired outcomes of this campaign”

Monday, 15 October 2012

South Basildon & East Thurrock MP urges local residents to look after their sight

Stephen Metcalfe, local MP for South Basildon and East Thurrock, recently visited the Royal National Institute ofBlind People’s futuristic sight loss simulator. He experienced firsthand the difficulties facing people with common sight conditions and found out how he can work with the RNIB to reduce the risk of sight loss for people in South Basildon & East Thurrock.

Using a specially designed simulator pod to illustrate common sight threatening eye conditions, the RNIB highlighted the importance of regular eye tests and demonstrated the need for local authorities to make eye health a priority so that conditions can be detected and treated at an early stage.  

There are currently almost two million people with sight loss in the UK and it is predicted that by 2050 this number will have doubled to nearly four million. This would affect 6,000 people in South Basildon & East Thurrock alone. Fortunately, up to 50 per cent of sight loss could be prevented through early detection and treatment so it is therefore vital that eye health is made a priority.

Stephen Metcalfe MP supported this message saying: "It is vital that people do not take their sight for granted. Experiencing a number of eye conditions in the simulator really demonstrated to me the importance of having eye checks. The RNIB recommend at least one test every two years and I would encourage all of my constituents to do this. A simple check really can make the world of difference.”