Thursday, 29 August 2013

Stephen Metcalfe MP pays tribute to rain soaked carnival performers

Stephen Metcalfe, local MP for South Basildon and East Thurrock, has paid tribute to the perseverance of the Stanford and Corringham carnival volunteers who put on a great show despite the torrential rain and appalling weather.

The annual carnival suffered from some of the worst weather of the summer with many attractions and floats having to be cancelled.

Despite the downpour which lasted for most of the day, some performers stoically continued, putting on the best show possible for the brave onlookers who had ventured out.

Mr Metcalfe commented: “It was such a shame that the weather put a dampener on what is usually such a fantastic and well attended local event. I would like thank all those who worked so hard to organise the carnival and I would also like to pay tribute to all of the performers and volunteers who braved the weather to ensure that the show went on!”

“They really made the best of a difficult situation and I am glad that at least some of the performers got to take part. I look forward to next year’s event and hope that it will take place under slightly better conditions!”

Tuesday, 27 August 2013

Stephen Metcalfe MP champions National Citizen Service after visiting local program

Stephen Metaclfe, local MP for South Basildon and East Thurrock has championed the positive impact of the National Citizen Service (NCS) after visiting a local program yesterday.

Mr Metcalfe joined the NCS team and young people at Stubbers activity centre, Upminster, the local delivery centre for South Basildon and East Thurrock. The MP had the opportunity to observe some first aid training and kayaking, and to talk to the young people and staff about their experiences of NCS. The MP was also joined by NCS Ambassadors and YouTube sensations, Caspar Lee and Marcus Butler.

NCS provide once in a lifetime opportunities for 16 and 17 year olds from all backgrounds. Throughout the program, young people develop key skills and the self belief needed to unlock their potential and make a positive impact in their local communities.

The program, which lasts several weeks, includes outdoor challenges, a one week residential stay away from home and a social action project designed and implemented by the participants themselves.

Mr Metcalfe commented: “Having been involved in promoting NCS to my constituents, it was fantastic to see the program in action. It combines some great activities with practical life skills and offers young people a real chance to make a difference and impact their communities.”

“I spoke to a number of local participants who had nothing but positive things to say about NCS. It has made a real difference to their lives and given them skills, confidence and friendships that they can take forward.”

NCS runs programs over several weeks out of school time in spring, summer, or autumn. For further information visit www.ncsyes.co.uk, call 0845 460 7410, email ncs.east@reed.co.uk or find "NCS East" on Facebook and Twitter.

Mr Metcalfe added: “I will continue to support NCS in whatever way I can and I hope that 16 and 17 year olds from across South Basildon and East Thurrock will make the most of this brilliant opportunity!”


Stephen Metcalfe MP warns of Labour tax bombshell on family holidays and mobile workers

Stephen Metcalfe, local MP for South Basildon and East Thurrock, has warned that Labour may be planning to hammer hotels and B&Bs in the local area with a new overnight accommodation tax.

This ‘holiday tax’ would force up the cost of living for hard-working people and threaten jobs across Britain’s tourist industry.

Labour Shadow Minister, Sadiq Khan, called for the ‘introduction of a levy on overnight accommodation’ earlier this month. A similar policy was proposed by the previous Labour Government but was binned after a Conservative campaign.

Hotels and other accommodation are already subject to VAT, corporation tax, business rates and National Insurance. Research estimates that up to 43,000 hotels, hostels and holiday lets across England currently paying £660 million a year in business rates could be affected by the new overnight accommodation levy.

The new hotel levy would not only harm the competitiveness of the UK tourist industry in a global economy but would have a significant negative impact on mobile workers especially construction workers from South Basildon and East Thurrock who may use hotels and B&Bs whilst working on major projects out of the the area.

Commenting, Stephen Metcalfe MP said: “I’m very concerned about Labour’s plans to hammer hard-working people with a new tax. This will not only make it more expensive for my constituents to holiday at home, adding approximately £126 extra to the cost of a two week stay in a reasonably priced hotel, but it will seriously affect those utilising local hotels for their work in South Basildon and East Thurrock or those working out of the area.  This is therefore not just a holiday tax but a workers tax and I am extremely pleased that this Conservative Government will be opposing it at every available opportunity.”


Stephen Metcalfe MP supports fundraising efforts at Stanford Rugby Club


Stephen Metcalfe, local MP for South Basildon and East Thurrock, recently paid a visit to Stanford Rugby Club to support their pre-season charity fundraising day.

Mr Metcalfe met club members and players and lent his support to their efforts to raise money for the Paediatric & Adolescent Oncology Research Fund which seeks to raise awareness of and research a cure for child and adolescent cancers.

The local MP commented: “It was a pleasure to visit the rugby club for their day of fundraising for this worthy charity. It is always brilliant to see people come together to rally behind an important cause and I hope that they were able to raise a significant amount of money.”

As well as seeing Stanford take on Baker Rugby club, the fundraising efforts also included a conversion challenge, face painting, music, an auction and a ‘Man vs Food competition’.

Mr Metcalfe added: “I would like to thank and congratulate all involved in making the day so successful. I am sure that the Paediatric & Adolescent Oncology Research Fund will be extremely grateful for any contribution and I hope that people enjoyed visiting the club as much as I did.”

“ I would like to wish Stanford all the best for the coming season and will be keeping any eye on their progress!”


Thursday, 22 August 2013

Stephen Metcalfe MP becomes patron of Thurrock Male Voice Choir

Stephen Metcalfe, local MP for South Basildon and East Thurrock, has said he is delighted at becoming patron of Thurrock Male Voice Choir.

Mr Metcalfe has demonstrated his support for the choir on numerous occasions, most recently joining them to celebrate their 75th Anniversary.

The Choir, which consists of around 40 men, was formed in 1938 and has been going strong ever since. As well as giving first class performance in the local community, the choir are also committed to raising money for charity. Over the years the choir have raised over £100,000 for local and national charities.

Mr Metcalfe commented: “I was delighted to accept the invitation to become patron of the Thurrock Male Voice Choir. They are a fantastic group who make such a positive contribution to the local community.”

“I look forward to supporting the choir in the future and would encourage others in South Basildon and East Thurrock to do the same!” 

The choir meet in Grays Methodist Church Hall on Monday evenings at 7:30pm. If you are interested in joining them, go along and see if you would like to become a member. Further information can be found here: ihttp://www.thurrockmalevoicechoir.co.uk

Tuesday, 20 August 2013

Stephen Metcalfe MP welcomes £24.6 million high speed broadband deal to Essex

Stephen Metcalfe, local MP for South Basildon and East Thurrock, has welcomed a £24.6 million deal that will deliver high-speed fibre broadband to thousands more homes and businesses in Essex. When combined with plans by the private sector, this deal should result in around 87% of premises in the county being able to access fibre broadband by the end of summer 2016.

Mr Metcalfe has been working with fellow Essex MPs and Essex County Council to push the deal through. As well as writing letters of support for the project, Mr Metcalfe has also participated in meetings with relevant parties to secure the best possible outcome for South Basildon and East Thurrock.

Essex County Council is contributing £6.46m, with £6.46m coming from the Government’s Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) funds, and a further 11.7m from BT.

Mr Metcalfe commented: “This is fantastic news for people in South Basildon and East Thurrock and across Essex. These upgrades will make a real difference to Essex residents and in particular, businesses that have difficulty trading and communicating online because of slow speeds. We want to grow our economy and create an environment for businesses to thrive and grow and better broadband is one of the ways this can be achieved.”

Bill Murphy, managing director of next generation access for BT, added: “This announcement is excellent news for Essex and the next stage of an exciting journey for the county. In today’s digital world, a fast and reliable broadband service is vital if the economy is to thrive, helping to attract new inward investment to Essex and helping local businesses expand. This in turn will help to stimulate jobs and growth throughout the county. “

Households and businesses in Essex will benefit from a highly competitive market, bringing greater choice and affordable prices from a wide range of service providers. It will also boost the competitiveness of local businesses, helping them to find new customers and operate more efficiently, whilst opening up a host of new learning and development opportunities for households.

Engineers for Openreach, BT’s local network division, will now begin surveying locations around the county and analysing the best way to roll-out the network and identify which areas of the county will be upgraded for fibre broadband. There will be a phased approach to the roll-out, with the first premises currently expected to be upgraded by June 2014.

Mr Metcalfe added: “For further information and to make your demand for super fast broadband, please visit: www.superfastessex.org.”

Stephen Metcalfe MP congratulates Essex police on fall in crime

Stephen Metcalfe, local MP for South Basildon and East Thurrock, has congratulated Essex Police after latest figures from the independent Office for National Statistics show that recorded crime has fallen by 5%.

As well as showing a reduction in crime in Essex, the independent statistics also show a general trend of declining crime figures across the country.

Mr Metcalfe, who has worked hard with local police and the local Police and Crime Commissioner, Nick Alston, commented: “Officers in Essex have clearly risen to the challenge in the fight against crime. Local people in South Basildon and East Thurrock can be proud of the hard work that the police do to keep our communities safe.”

“Police reform is working and crime is falling across the country. The Government has slashed red tape and scrapped targets so that the police can concentrate on fighting crime. I would like to thank the thousands of police officers and their chief constables who are proving you can cut crime even as you cut spending.”

“I look forward to seeing crime figures continue to drop in the future and I will do all I can to support this process in South Basildon and East Thurrock.”

Thursday, 8 August 2013

Stephen Metcalfe MP launches search for ‘Digital Hero’ in South Basildon and East Thurrock

Stephen Metcalfe, local MP for South Basildon and East Thurrock,  is calling for local groups to enter the TalkTalk Digital Heroes Awards 2013, a unique competition that recognises and rewards people who are using technology to help their communities.

The awards, now in their sixth year, have provided funding and support to 62 organisations across Britain, including various charities which have used technology to help children and youth, the homeless and people with disabilities.

The awards, run in partnership with the Daily Mirror and charities Citizens Online and Go ON UK, aim to recognise inspirational people who use technology to benefit their local community. Twelve winners, one from each region of the UK – voted for by the public – will each get £5,000 to enhance their digital projects, with one overall winner getting £10,000.

In addition to the main awards, Martha Lane Fox will present a special award for the Young Digital Hero on behalf of Go ON UK, a charity she chairs which aims to make UK the world’s most digitally connected nation. The top prize is £4,000 for their chosen charity and an Apple MacBook Air.

Commenting on the awards, Stephen Metcalfe MP said: “Digital technology plays an increasingly important role in our society, helping to improve people’s lives and encourage the growth of local businesses. Digital Heroes is a wonderful initiative which recognises the people who have worked hard to champion digital technology and made a difference to their community.

“I hope that projects in South Basildon and East Thurrock will be able to benefit from this year’s scheme and I would encourage local groups and individuals to enter the competition.” 

The awards are now open for submissions at www.talktalkdigitalheroes.co.uk  and the deadline for entries is August 14, 2013. 

Thursday, 1 August 2013

Stephen Metcalfe MP presents awards to BEST parents


Stephen Metcalfe, local MP for South Basildon and East Thurrock, recently joined the Basildon Education Services Trust (BEST) at Pioneer’s School to present awards to parents who have worked on developing their skills and engaged in family learning.  He also delivered a speech in which he thanked BEST for their hard work promoted the advantages learning in the family environment.

BEST is a company with charitable status, working on behalf of a partnership of 37 schools who collaborate to raise the aspirations and achievement of over 10,000 children, young people and their parents in Basildon Town, allowing them to learn, grow, develop, and fulfil their potential.

All BEST Schools work hard to offer a range of initiatives that engage parents to enable them to support their child’s learning and social and emotional wellbeing. BEST’s ‘Time Out for Parents and Carers’ programme compliments the work schools are already undertaking and brings parents and carers from across the locality together  to continue their own learning journey. 

By being based in our schools during the day, the programme offers parents and carers who normally find it difficult to access adult education an opportunity to learn together in a non threatening, non judgemental local environment.  A free cr├Ęche is also provided.

Run in association with the WEA and Essex Adult Community Learning, over 400 parents whose children attend BEST schools, have participated in over 120 free courses since September 2012 that help them develop skills in 5 key areas:

  • Supporting their child’s learning
  • Parenting Skills
  • Developing key skills in Literacy, Numeracy and IT
  • Developing healthier lifestyles
·         Supporting self development and preparation for returning to the workplace.

The local MP, who is also patron of BEST commented: “It was a privilege to attend the BEST parents awards evening and to present the mums, dads, carers and guardians with their awards. Family engagement and family learning are key to the future prosperity of our children and young people and I hope that parents across Basildon can be inspired by the achievements of those who received awards.”

In his speech, Mr Metcalfe commented on the role of parents’ attitudes, aspirations and behaviour in shaping a child’s outlook stating that good quality home learning contributes more to children’s intellectual and social development than parental occupation, education or income. He also commented that it can be a great way of improving the confidence of parents.

Mr Metcalfe added: “I share in BEST’s belief that there is unlimited potential here in Basildon. I will continue to work hard with the organisation and with local schools and parents to promote this message.”