Wednesday, 28 November 2012

Stephen Metcalfe MP supports new Studio School in Basildon

Stephen Metcalfe MP with Katy Quinn, Vice Principal
of Employment & Skills at Seevic College
In continuation of his mission to drive up educational standards in South Basildon and East Thurrock, Stephen Metcalfe MP has lent his support to the new Studio School due to open in Basildon in September 2013.

Sponsored by Seevic College, and supported by Anglia Ruskin University, the Studio School at New College Basildon will deliver unique and employer focused high quality education to young people of the local area.

Following his visit to the Studio School Open Day on Saturday, Stephen Metcalfe MP, who has made education in South Basildon and East Thurrock a top priority, commented: “I am extremely excited about the Studio School at New College Basildon. Not only does it add depth and breadth to the educational landscape in my constituency but it provides new opportunities that will help to maximise the potential of each individual student.”

In September the school will welcome students aged between 14 and 19, offering a range of mainstream qualifications for up to 340 pupils of all abilities through practical projects which will see students working closely with local employers from an early age.

Whilst at the Studio School, pre-16 students will study for their key GCSEs in English, Maths, Science and ICT. Alongside these core GCSEs, students will choose either the English Baccalaureate or choose a specialist vocational qualification in Health & Social Care, or Sport. Post-16 options will include a range of A Levels, as well as vocational qualifications in Health & Social Care, or Sport, allowing students to specialise and prepare for employment in these fields.

Local employers will be involved in all aspects of the curriculum, and will help to identify skills gaps in the workplace. Students will also spend a significant amount of time outside of the classroom in paid and unpaid work placements linked directly to employment opportunities in the local area.

Mr Metcalfe added: “I very much look forward to seeing the future results of the Studio School. It is a fantastic opportunity for students to gain vital qualifications whilst simultaneously building relationships with employers to gain the skills needed for the workplace. It is just what is needed in the current economic climate and I will do all I can to support both staff and pupils.”

Stephen Metcalfe MP helps to fight food poverty in Basildon

Stephen Metcalfe, local MP for South Basildon and East Thurrock, has recently given his time to the nationwide food-drive run by Sainsbury’s and FareShare to help tackle hunger across the UK.

Last year’s ‘Million Meal Appeal’, which took place on Saturday 26th November, was a huge success and involved 600 Sainsbury’s stores. Thanks to customers’ generosity, together with Sainsbury’s pledge to match donations, FareShare could deliver food for over 1.2 million meals to 700 charities and community projects it supports.

This year’s appeal saw over 900 stores involved in the two-day food-drive to help 720 charities and community projects which FareShare supports. Customers were able to choose to donate an item from the Million Meal Appeal shopping list which consists of long-life products including tinned goods, dried pasta, pasta sauce, rice, tea and instant coffee.

Stephen Metcalfe said: “I’m really proud to have supported the second-ever ‘Million Meal Appeal’ with Sainsbury’s and FareShare. The appeal at the Nevendon store was a great success. It highlighted the generosity of Basildon residents and how by working together, we can tackle food poverty in this country.”

“I would like to thank Sainsbury’s, FareShare and all the volunteers for their hard work and also all local residents who helped to make this appeal such a success.”

Stephen Metcalfe MP: Stalking is made a criminal offence

Stephen Metcalfe, local MP for South Basildon and East Thurrock, is said to be extremely pleased with two new laws that will protect the victims of stalking, along with a raft of other supportive measures designed to tackle violence against women and girls.

Commenting, Mr Metcalfe said: “Stalking is abhorrent. It is a crime that shatters the lives of its victims, and for too long under the last Government it went unchallenged. This Government will not stand by and see people’s lives ruined.”

“I am extremely pleased to see new laws that will help bring peace of mind to victims here in South Basildon and East Thurrock and wherever people are suffering because of stalking”.

Home Secretary, Theresa May, said: “Stalking is a sickening and cowardly crime. Too many women live in fear, forced to look constantly over their shoulder. We need to end their suffering. That is why we are acting now.”

Stephen Metcalfe added: “These new laws send a clear message that stalking will not be tolerated. This shows just how serious we are about tackling violence against women. Our priority is the victims and we will do all we can to protect them. Stalkers will not get away with it. They must be dragged out of the shadows and brought to justice”.

Stephen Metcalfe MP calls on schools to take part in autism challenge

Stephen Metcalfe with Edward Timpson, Children’s Minister
Stephen Metcalfe, MP for South Basildon and East Thurrock, is supporting a nationwide charity challenge to help raise awareness of issues affecting pupils with autism and is calling on all local schools to take part.

The Anderson Schools Challenge is a joint campaign between The National Autistic Society (NAS) and the Anderson Foundation, which asks schools to complete 50 fun and easy tasks in celebration of the NAS’ 50th Birthday.

The tasks, which range from fitting 50 items into a Smarties tube to holding an autsim-awareness assembly, can be undertaken by 50 individual pupils or a whole class, unless any pupils fancy taking on all 50. The money raised will help the NAS to provide much-needed services and support for people affected by autism across the UK.

Stephen said: “I’m delighted to be supporting the Anderson Schools Challenge and am calling on all primary schools to do their bit and help raise awareness of autism. School can be a real struggle for many children with the condition, but better understanding among teachers, school staff and other pupils can make a real difference."

Mark Lever, Chief Executive of the NAS, said: “We’re thrilled that Stephen is championing this important challenge and encouraging as many schools as possible take part. Autism is more common than most people think – around 1 in 100 people have the condition and it touches the lives of over 500,000 families in the UK. This is a fun and easy way to improve awareness of autism and help us to continue supporting individuals and families across the UK.”

Mark Anderson said: “The NAS has been making a difference to the lives of children, adults and their families living with autism for 50 years. The Anderson Foundation Schools Challenge is a campaign designed to push forward autism awareness in schools as well as raising much needed funds for the NAS to continue to provide this essential support.” 

To sign up to the Anderson Schools Challenge visit:

Monday, 26 November 2012

Stephen Metcalfe MP addresses packed public meeting to oppose Bowers Gifford development

Stephen Metcalfe, local MP for South Basildon and East Thurrock, reiterated his opposition to the proposed development of the land at Little Chalvedon Hall Farm, Bowers Gifford at a packed public meeting last Thursday evening.

The proposals, which would see the Greenbelt land at Bowers Gifford developed for housing by Nottinghamshire Council’s Pension Fund, has been a great source of contention among local residents. The meeting gave local people the chance to voice their concerns with Stephen Metcalfe MP who has joined with the newly formed Bowers Gifford and North Benfleet Residents Association to spearhead a campaign against the development.

Mr Metcalfe commented: “It was extremely encouraging to see so many people at the meeting. It is so important that local residents have their voices heard and meetings such as this provide a forum in which this can happen.”

“I understand that additional housing is needed in Basildon but I do not believe that these proposals are the answer. These proposals fly in the face of local wishes, they are against the Council’s Greenbelt policy and they will do nothing to enhance the local area. I will continue to do all I can to ensure that my constituents are heard and that their views are taken into consideration by the Council.”

Mr Metcalfe added: “I urge local residents once again to get in touch with either me or the Council about this issue. We must garner as much opposition as possible to the developments and this can only happen if residents make their opinions known. I hope that if we work together, we can reach an outcome that is beneficial to local residents and the community as a whole.”

Another step in support of Visteon Pensioners

Stephen Metcalfe MP with members of the Visteon
Pension Action Group

Stephen Metcalfe, MP for South Basildon and East Thurrock, chaired a meeting last week for the All Party Parliamentary Group in support of Visteon Pensioners.

The group was established earlier this year with a view to looking at the background of the collapse of the Visteon Corporation in 2009 which resulted in the loss of over 500 jobs, leaving many more with either frozen or reduced pension rights.

The meeting was attended by the Pensions Regulator who gave evidence to the group about the regulations surrounding the case and provided information for an upcoming report.

Stephen Metcalfe commented: “The consequences of the spinoff of Visteon from Ford Motor Company have been great for the pensioners and former employees. The APPG is investigating the plight of the pensioners and I hope that through these evidence sessions we will gain a clearer insight into what has happened.”

An invitation has been extended to a representative from Ford Europe to attend a meeting in the New Year so the APPG can hear their perspective on the situation.

Mr Metcalfe added: “I will work hard to highlight the plight of the pensioners and to use the APPG to conduct a thorough investigation. I sincerely hope that by the end of our enquiries we can reach an outcome that is fair to all parties involved.”

Stephen Metcalfe MP: It’s Movember and it’s time to make a difference to men’s health

Sporting an impressive moustache, Stephen Metcalfe, MP for South Basildon and East Thurrock, has joined the army of men growing facial hair for Movember.

Movember is a moustache growing charity event that is held during November each year to raise vital funds for and awareness of men’s health issues, particularly prostate and testicular cancer. Mr Metcalfe is one of many men around the world who have dedicated a hairy month to a great cause.

Stephen commented: “Movember is a light hearted way of raising awareness of some very serious issues. I am passionate about men’s health and it is vital that we look beyond the moustaches and take note of the message behind Movember.”

“The statistics speak for themselves. 1 in 9 men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer in their lifetime. This year alone, 40,000 new cases of the disease will be diagnosed in the UK. The statistics for testicular cancer are just as alarming. 47% of testicular cancer cases occur in men under 35 years and over 90% occur in men under 55 years – these are health issues that have no age boundaries.”

The funds that Movember raise in the UK are invested in programmes that address the strategic priorities Movember has identified, related to both prostate and testicular cancer. The three areas of investment are Awareness & Education, Survivorship and Research.

Globally, fighting prostate cancer continues to be one of Movember’s priorities. There are still many issues to be addressed, both pre and post diagnosis.  Here in the UK fighting testicular cancer is also a priority and last year Movember invested in world class research for testicular cancer with the Institute of Cancer Research, this research focuses on identifying genes that predispose men to testicular cancer.

Mr Metcalfe added: “It’s Movember and its time to make a difference to men’s health. We must get people talking about men’s health issues and we must support the work of organisations seeking to create a world in which these problems no longer exist.”

If you would like to find out more please viist: If you would like to sponsor Mr Metcalfe in his efforts to change the face of men’s health, please visit:

Sunday, 25 November 2012

Stephen Metcalfe MP meets with Borough Police Commander

Stephen Metcalfe, local MP for South Basildon and East Thurrock, recently met with Borough Commander Glen Pavelin to discuss crime in Basildon and Thurrock.

Mr Metcalfe, who meets regularly with the police, took the opportunity to discuss local crime issues and how these may be tackled in light of the recent Police and Crime Commissioner elections in which Conservative Candidate Nick Alston was elected.

Mr Metcalfe commented: “Meeting with the Police on a regular basis is extremely important. They are able to update me on local issues and it provides an opportunity for us to work together to find solutions to local problems.”

“I am looking forward to working with Nick Alston in conjunction with District Commander Glen Pavelin to further drive down crime in South Basildon and East Thurrock.”

“I would like to thank the Police for their hard work and dedication in driving crime down under difficult circumstances and I will do all I can to support them as they continue to make our streets safer.”

Wednesday, 21 November 2012

Stephen Metcalfe MP: PM delivers on his promise to get the lowest energy tariffs

Stephen Metcalfe, MP for South Basildon and East Thurrock, has welcomed Government plans to lower energy bills for hardworking people across Essex.

Following the Prime Minister’s promise to take action to get people the lowest tariffs for their energy bills, this week the Government announced plans to force energy suppliers to offer their customers the best deals.

Under these proposals:
  • Households will no longer face hundreds of tariffs, with energy companies limited to four tariffs per fuel. 
  •  Energy companies will have to make bills simpler for customers to understand, and outline personalised information on the cheapest tariff that they can offer.
  • Households will be moved onto the cheapest appropriate tariff under their supplier.

With over £300 difference between the cheapest and the most expensive tariffs on the market, the Prime Minister’s action is likely to make a significant difference to local people in Basildon and Thurrock who are worried about their energy bills.

Commenting Mr Metcalfe said: “The Prime Minister promised to take action to get people the lowest tariffs and he has delivered.”

“Households across South Basildon and East Thurrock will welcome this move to get their energy bills down. This action shows that the Government is serious about helping people with the cost of living. Along with tax cuts, council tax freezes and all time low interest rates protecting mortgage payment, this action on energy prices will really help with family budgets.”

Monday, 19 November 2012

Nick Alston is victorious in first ever PCC elections

Stephen Metcalfe, local MP for South Basildon and East Thurrock has congratulated the Conservative PCC candidate Nick Alston for securing a victory at the elections last week, making him the first ever Police and Crime Commissioner of Essex.

Fighting off contenders from Labour, UKIP and the English Democrats, Nick Alston has become part of the biggest shake up in policing in over 50 years. His new responsibilities include appointing the chief constable for the Essex police force, setting local policing priorities, reporting annually on progress, and setting out the force budget and community safety grants.

Stephen Metcalfe MP commented: I am delighted that Nick Alston has won. He is, without a shadow of a doubt, the right man for the job and I know that he will serve Essex well. My congratulations go to all candidates for their hard fought campaigns but I am extremely pleased with the overall outcome.”

Mr Alston, who has lived in Essex all of his life has, has a long and impressive record in public safety and security. After being commissioned as an officer in the Royal Navy, he served this country for almost 30 years in operational defence and security work. During this time he worked with police officers of all seniority across the UK and overseas. He now wants to use this experience to help steer Essex police through the changes they are facing and to bring policing closer to all whom live and work in Essex.

Among his priorities are meeting the specific needs of local communities, championing local initiatives between the police, local councils and voluntary sector and ensuring that the police respond quickly and professionally whenever they are needed by the public.

Nick has also pledged to visit all 14 major towns in Essex twice a year to ensure that he is both visible and accessible to local communities. Stephen Metcalfe MP has extended an invitation to Mr Alston to make visiting Basildon and Thurrock a top priority.

Mr Metcalfe added: “I very much look forward to welcoming Nick to Basildon and Thurrock to meet my constituents. I am delighted that the public will at last have a voice in policing and I look forward to working with Nick in the future to ensure that crime in my constituency is falling.”

Stephen Metcalfe MP ‘gives an hour’ for Youth Work Week

Stephen Metcalfe, MP for South Basildon and East Thurrock, recently dropped in on Southern Hay Youth Hub in Basildon following an invitation from the National Youth Agency to find out more about the role of youth work in communities.

The National Youth Agency called on MPs across the country to spend an hour with local youth workers in their constituency, as part of Youth Work Week 2012.

Fiona Blacke, NYA chief executive said: “The theme of this year’s Youth Work Week is ‘connecting cultures’ so it seems fitting that, through youth work, local leaders connect with youth workers in their community, and with young people themselves.”

“There is an amazing variety of youth work going on in communities around the country, and we wanted MPs to see its value first hand.”

The Hub itself provides an informal education social and personal development service for young people across Basildon. Amongst many other services, it delivers an Alternative Education Programme five days per week for students in year 11 who, for whatever reason, are struggling to engage well in formal schooling.

During his visit, Mr Metcalfe praised the invaluable work taking place with young people in the area.

He commented: “I was delighted to have the opportunity to visit the youth Hub. Without the education programme, some students would simply fall through the cracks of the education system. Because of the Hub, young people are coming away with a whole raft of qualifications, experience of the work place, improved self-esteem and life skills.”

“It was clear to see that it provides a vital service to a number of my constituents and it has given me a much deeper insight into the challenges facing Youth workers. Youth Work Week is a fantastic opportunity to highlight the impact and celebrate the achievements of youth organisations and youth workers across the UK.”

“I would like to thank all the dedicated staff at the Hub who offer this valuable service. It continues to make a great difference to the lives of young people in my constituency and I look forward to visiting again in the new year.”

Wednesday, 14 November 2012

Stephen Metcalfe MP: We need a Conservative Police and Crime Commissioner to cut crime in Essex

Stephen Metcalfe MP and PCC Candidate, Nick Alston
Local Conservative MP Stephen Metcalfe has urged local people to support the Conservative candidate Nicholas Alston in this Thursday’s Police and Crime Commissioner Elections.

The PCC will set the budget, write the local crime plan and hold the police to account. The powerful new local figure will replace the existing police authority.

Commenting local Mr Metcalfe said: “We need a Police and Crime Commissioner for Essex who is focused on cutting crime and standing up for victims. Conservative candidate Nick Alston will get value out of every penny of the budget and focus all available resources on the front line.”

“I will look forward to working closely with our new PCC to help victims and witnesses and to support the police in cutting crime and making communities in Essex safer.”

Stephen Metcalfe MP leads fight against late payment

Stephen Metcalfe, MP for South Basildon and East Thurrock, opened a debate in the House of Commons on the issue of late payment to small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs).

Receiving wide cross party support, the debate examined how to use the Prompt Payment Code to end the late payment culture that has come to dominate both the public and private sector at the expense of SMEs up and down the country.

Mr Metcalfe spoke passionately, stating that better use of the Code would help to stimulate growth and end the tyranny of late payment. He also made a number of suggestions to the Minister from the Department for Business Innovation and Skills about how best to help SMEs flagging under the burden of late payment.

Mr Metcalfe commented: “Late payment is an endemic problem in both the public and private sector. As it stands, outstanding debts to this country’s SMEs have reached a record high of £35.3 billion. This is an increase of almost £2 billion from the last reported figure 6 months ago.” 

“This has got to change - not only for the benefit of the SMEs in question, but for our economy as a whole.”
In response to the debate, The Rt Hon David Willets MP stated that all Government departments have included a clause in their contracts that requires main contractors to pay their suppliers within 30 days and he expressed the Government’s commitment to ensuring that the Prompt Payment Code is adopted by as many businesses as possible.

The Government has also made the decision to name all FTSE 250 companies who do not sign up to the Code.

Phillip King, Chief Executive of the Institute of Credit Management says that the Government could go further, making it compulsory for any firm tendering from public sector contracts to be a signatory of the Code.

He commented: “It is wholly right for the Business Minister to put his weight behind the Code, but this message would be even more convincing if he was to make signing the Code - and clearly demonstrating best practice in fair payment - a pre-requisite for any Government work. Public money should not be going to those firms whose payment practices stifle economic growth.”

Mr Metcalfe added: “This is not just a commercial problem. It is an ethical one. SMEs are the backbone of our economy and we must make it clear to big businesses and to public sector bodies that it is simply not acceptable to pay suppliers outside of the agreed terms. I welcome the Government’s commitment to tackle the issue but as I said in the debate, we must have a system in which the reality matches the rhetoric and I will work hard to promote this message.”

Stephen Metcalfe MP supports Basildon Women’s Aid

(LtoR) Mandy Roberts, Health and Safety Manager;
Elaine Arnold, Services Manager;
Stephen Metcalfe MP and Lyn Headley, CEO, Basildon Women's Aid.

Stephen Metcalfe, local MP for South Basildon and East Thurrock, visited Basildon Women's Aid this weekend to learn more about the fantastic work of the refuge.

Basildon Women’s Aid is a charitable organisation providing refuge for women and their children who have been victims of domestic violence. In addition to providing emotional support, the refuge offers temporary accommodation for women of all ages, races and cultures, with or without children.

Mr Metcalfe commented: “I am extremely grateful to have had the opportunity to visit Basildon Women’s Aid. Many hundreds of women have taken refuge in the centre since it opened and it was clear to see that it provides an invaluable escape route from domestic violence and a chance for the women and their children to seek alternatives to a life of danger, isolation and fear.”

He added: “I would like to offer my sincere thanks to all the members of staff, volunteers, donors and supporters who work so hard to make the refuge what it is. Without their dedication and commitment, many women would find themselves with nowhere to turn. I cannot thank them enough for ensuring that this is not the case.”

To raise awareness of the issue of domestic violence, next week (19th-23rd November) is Domestic Abuse Awareness Week. There will be a stand in the Basildon Centre encouraging everyone to wear a white ribbon to demonstrate their support in the fight against domestic abuse. Basildon Women’s Aid are also holding a walk through Basildon Town Centre on Friday 23rd November in celebration of those who have survived domestic abuse and in remembrance of the 100 victims who die every year as a result of domestic violence.  

If you would like to join the walk, please meet at the Mother and Child statue at 12 noon.

Wednesday, 7 November 2012

MPs make poppies for Remembrance Day at Richmond

On the 6th November,The Industry and Parliament Trust today took a cross-party group of MPs to The Poppy Factory in Richmond, Surrey.

Since 1922, The Poppy Factory (formerly the Disabled Society) has employed wounded, injured and sick ex-service personnel in its factory, and in recent years has expanded its work to facilitate employment of wounded, injured and sick ex-service men and women throughout the UK. The Richmond Factory itself employs 47 members of staff, who are responsible for the manufacture of poppies, wreaths and Remembrance crosses in the lead up to Remembrance Day.

The event was an opportunity for parliamentarians to learn about the Factory’s history, try their hand at making their own poppies and wreaths and meet with employees at The Poppy Factory. The visit is part of the IPT’s Industry Visits which involve one-day, hands-on tours for parliamentarians to some of the UK's leading and most innovative industry sites and provide a unique snapshot into the various sectors that make up our economy .

The Poppy Factory today offers a comprehensive career support package to help wounded, injured and sick ex-service men and women find and sustain civilian employment. It sources appropriate opportunities for work and seeks to help remove the barriers which might prevent ex-service men and women from easily accessing the civilian workplace.

Since the expansion of the programme in 2010, The Poppy Factory has supported 206 clients into work and is having a wider impact. The Poppy Factory’s current priority is to help 500 wounded, injured and sick ex-Service men and women into work by 2015.

Melanie Waters, CEO, The Poppy Factory said, Ex-Service men and women have a fantastic work ethic, are disciplined, trustworthy and used to performing within a team. Many have qualifications that are invaluable for companies today. However, an injury or delayed illness can shatter their lives. We want to help them regain their self-respect and confidence in order to earn a living, so that they can feel a valuable member of society again”

Stephen Metcalfe, Member of Parliament for South Basildon and East Thurrock said, “It was a privilege to be invited on this visit and to see the work of The Poppy Factory. The work they do is incredibly valuable to disenfranchised ex-servicemen and women; I was therefore delighted to be able show my support and in some small way highlight the importance of this valuable charity.”

Tuesday, 6 November 2012

Stephen Metcalfe MP opens the doors to new Haematology Infusion Suite

Patients and staff have welcomed the opening of a dedicated Haematology Infusion Suite at Basildon University Hospital. Patient Sandra Wells cut the ribbon to officially open the suite, alongside Stephen Metcalfe, MP for south Basildon and east Thurrock.

The suite provides more comfortable surroundings for patients who require non-chemotherapy infusions. The suite cost around £60,000 to refurbish and will treat around 35 patients per week, Monday to Friday. Until now non-chemotherapy patients were treated alongside the chemotherapy patients in the same room at the Haematology Day Unit on Orsett Ward.

Mrs Wells, 69, from Billericay, has a genetic condition called Common Variable Immune Deficiency, which means her body doesn’t produce sufficient antibodies. She feels better with an immunoglobulin transfusion every three weeks and has been coming to Basildon University Hospital for transfusions since 1997. She said: "The new suite is such a great improvement. There is more space and air conditioning, which is better because you can feel quite hot when you’re having treatment."

Clare Panniker, Chief Executive added: "It fantastic to have this facility, a calm, tranquil area for patient who need infusions and have to visit the hospital regularly."

MP Stephen Metcalfe added: "This suite has come about thanks to the hard work and dedication of the staff. On behalf of all patients and residents of Basildon, thank you."

Monday, 5 November 2012

Stephen Metcalfe MP joins the Poppy Appeal

Stephen Metcalfe, local MP for South Basildon and East Thurrock, stood alongside members of Pitsea British Legion on Friday to sell poppies for this year’s poppy appeal.

Each year in November, some 30,000 Legion volunteers take to the streets armed with poppies and collecting boxes to raise millions of pounds for the Poppy Appeal.

The money collected goes towards helping and supporting serving and ex-service men and women and their dependents.

Stephen, who recently made arrangements to save the Stanford-Le-Hope Remembrance Day Parade, has proved to be a great supporter of British Legions across his constituency.

He commented: “It was a great privilege to stand with members of the Pitsea British Legion selling poppies. The Legion provides an invaluable service to the men and women who have dedicated their lives in service to this country.”

“Wearing a poppy is but a small way of demonstrating our thanks to soldiers now, and throughout our history who have put themselves in great danger to ensure that we at home can live in freedom. For this we must forever be grateful. ”

“I would like to thank all of the volunteers who work tirelessly to raise funds and provide welfare support to those who need it and hope that this will continue for many years to come.”

The British Legion is always in need of more volunteers. If you are interested in helping, please get in touch with your local Legion to find out how you can contribute to the fantastic work of the organisation.

Stephen Metcalfe MP and PCC candidate Nick Alston discuss upcoming elections with Basildon Pensioners

Last Friday, Stephen Metcalfe, local MP for South Basildon and East Thurrock, visited the Basildon Pensioners Association along with Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) candidate Nick Alston to discuss the upcoming PCC elections.

The meeting provided a lively forum for local pensioners to quiz Mr Metcalfe and Mr Alston about crime in Basildon and the wider Essex region. The pensioners were also able to hear from Mr Alston about policies that he intends to implement should he be successful in the upcoming elections.

Elections for the news post will be held across Essex on 15 November 2012 and will have a revolutionary affect on local policing. The new PCC will set the policing budget, set the amount local people pay towards policing in their council tax, and write the local crime plan for the region.

Commenting, Stephen Metcalfe said: “I always enjoy visiting Basildon Pensioners Association and I was delighted to have the opportunity along with Essex candidate Nick Alston, to be able to discuss the upcoming PCC elections with local residents.”

“Few things are more important than the security of our communities and the safety of our families. PCCs will reconnect local policing priorities with local people’s concerns so it is vital that Mr Alston has opportunities such as this to hear the views of local residents.”

“We will soon have an important new local figure in the PCC who will lead the local effort to cut crime and make Essex safer. I am wholeheartedly backing our excellent Conservative candidate Nick Alston and I believe he will be a strong local voice fighting to cut crime in Essex.”

Minister renews commitment to move Felmores Approved Premises if alternative location is found

Stephen with local residents campaigning for the relocation 
of Felmores Approved Premises
Stephen Metcalfe, local MP for South Basildon and East Thurrock, can today confirm that the Ministry of Justice have renewed their commitment to move the Felmores Approved Premises if an alternative location can be found.

The current Premises, which houses former sex offenders, is a great source of concern for local residents who have long been campaigning for its relocation.

Mr Metcalfe commented: “I encourage Basildon District Council and the Essex Probation Service to double their efforts to find an alternative location either in Basildon or in another District and welcome the efforts they have made so far.”

“I am delighted that the new Justice Secretary has renewed his predecessor’s commitment to move Bail House should an alternative location be found. The current location is entirely unsuitable and I will do all I can to support Basildon Council in finding an alternate site.”

“I would like to reassure my constituents that I am not deaf to their concerns and that I will continue to work toward a result that will benefit the local residents and restore a feeling of safety in the community.”

Thursday, 1 November 2012

Stephen Metcalfe MP secures House of Commons debate in support of small business

Stephen Metcalfe, Member of Parliament for South Basildon and East Thurrock, and Andrea Leadsom, Member of Parliament for South Northamptonshire, have secured a debate on the floor of the House of Commons to help Small and Medium sized businesses by highlighting the problem of late payment in the supply chain of public sector contracts.

This timely debate will address the rising problem of late payment in the public sector which is crippling businesses up and down the country.

Stephen Metcalfe commented: “Small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) are currently owed in excess of £30 billion. This is simply not acceptable. In business, cash flow is king and when this flow is interrupted a contract can become a problem rather than a solution. At best it can cost business money in terms of financing overdraft facilities at worst it stifles growth and can affect the very viability of a business.”

The debate, which will take place on Thursday 8th November, has received wide cross-party support.

Mr Metcalfe added: “I am delighted to have secured this debate. It will give me and my colleagues the opportunity to stand up for all businesses who have suffered as a result of late payment in the public sector. Addressing this issue is unavoidable if we are serious about stimulating growth in this country and I look forward to hearing the Government’s response to the points that are raised. Ultimately, we hope that the Chancellor, following the debate, will include measures which tackle this problem.”

Broadband triumph for Bulphan

Having raised the issue of Broadband provision in rural parts of Thurrock on the floor of the House of Commons and met with BT to discuss the issue, Stephen Metcalfe MP confirms that Bulphan with be included in the bid for public funded Broadband.

In correspondence today from Essex County Council, who are leading the bid on behalf of Essex, Southend and Thurrock, Stephen was told:

“Bulphan is covered by the Essex BDUK project, I’ve seen it on the map in our data room. It is currently not down for BT to cover it under their Infinity programme as it isn’t commercially viable for them, therefore it gets picked up by BDUK funding as a Market 1 area eligible for support under state aid exemption. It may change if BT decides to include the exchange and cabinets for the village (should it become commercially viable) which would only mean it gets done by them commercially rather than relying on our public funding. I think that is very unlikely however as BT are not planning to increase their investment outside of BDUK match funding.”

Stephen commented: "This is fantastic news.I will now be seeking confirmation that other rural areas in my constituency are also included in the BDUK plan."