Thursday, 30 May 2013

Stephen Metcalfe MP asks local groups to support UK development efforts

Stephen Metcalfe MP is encouraging charities and not-for-profit groups in South Basildon and East Thurrock to bid for money from a £4m fund to support efforts to reduce global poverty.

The Global Poverty Action Fund's Community Partnership Window allows small, UK-based organisations to put forward innovative ideas in pursuit of the Millennium Development Goals to help the poorest people around the world.

The bidding process has now opened and closes on 9 July 2013.

The local MP commented: "I know there are large numbers of individuals and organisations in South Basildon and East Thurrock who spend a lot of time and effort supporting those most in need around the world. The Community Partnership Window of the Global Poverty Action Fund allows them to put forward their ideas to help people the poorest parts of the globe with successful projects receiving funding to turn their vision into reality."

Justine Greening, Secretary of State for International Development, added: "This fund is aimed at giving smaller charities and groups the opportunity to support the UK's development efforts around the world. I encourage any organisation that has an idea for delivering real, positive change to those most in need to submit a bid."

For further information and to submit your idea, click here.

Stephen Metcalfe MP challenges Basildon and Thurrock Council to back aspiring homeowners

Stephen Metcalfe, local MP for South Basildon and East Thurrock, has challenged Basildon and Thurrock Council to make sure it is doing everything it can to promote the dramatically increased discounts on offer through the Right to Buy scheme. His challenge comes in the same week that new figures were published showing the number of council tenants buying their homes through the Right to Buy has more than doubled

Launched in April last year, the new Right to Buy offers council tenants discounts of up to £75,000 to help them buy their home. Local councils have a legal duty to inform tenants about the increased discounts, but there has previously been concern that some councils have not done everything they can to make tenants aware of the new opportunities.

The official figures published this week suggest that progress has been made, but Mr Metcalfe has now challenged Basildon and Thurrock Council to do even more to help hardworking people realise their dream of home ownership.

Commenting, the local MP said: “It’s great news that the number of people buying their own council home has doubled. After years of Labour running down the Right to Buy, Conservatives have radically increased the discounts. More and more people are now taking advantage of this opportunity – real proof that Conservative policies are helping those people who work hard and want to get on in life.”

The Conservative led Basildon Council have enabled 127 people to buy their homes between 2012 and 2013. This is an increase of 71 since 2010-11. Labour led Thurrock Council are lagging far behind with 46 properties in 2012-13, an increase of only 36 since 2010-11.

Mr Metcalfe added: “Basildon Council should now do everything it can to make sure all its tenants are aware of what this Government is doing to help hardworking people realise their aspiration of home ownership.”

“Thurrock Council should stop dragging its feet and start singing from the roof tops about the new opportunities this Government has made available and tell tenants about these dramatic new discounts.”

Thursday, 23 May 2013

Lee Chapel Primary School crowned victorious at Speakers School Council Awards

Stephen Metcalfe MP with members of the School Council

Lee Chapel Primary School have been crowned winners of the 2013 Speakers School Council Awards in the 7-11 age category after being informed of the competition by local MP, Stephen Metcalfe.

The national awards scheme, now in its fourth year, is run by Parliament’s Education Service on behalf of the Speaker of the House of Commons, the Rt Hon John Bercow MP. It is designed to celebrate the achievements of school councils across the country and is open to every infant, primary and secondary school in the UK.

Mr Metcalfe wrote to schools in South Basildon and East Thurrock asking them to submit their most successful council project that had made a difference to their school and their community and was said to be delighted when he received the news of their award.

The local MP commented: “This is absolutely fantastic news. There were over 100 excellent entries to this year’s competition making Lee Chapel Primary’s achievement all the more noteworthy.”

“I am extremely proud of all the school council’s operating in my constituency and Lee Chapel’s success just goes to demonstrate that they can make a real and significant difference both to the school and wider community.”

Six representatives from the school have been invited to the House of Commons for the awards ceremony where they will be presented with a trophy from the Speaker himself and Stephen Metcalfe MP. This will take place on the 6th June.

Mr Metcalfe added: “This national award goes to show that we must not limit the aspirations of children in Basildon.  With enthusiasm, support and a bit of self belief there is nothing that they cannot achieve. I will continue to work with schools throughout my constituency to promote this truth.”

Monday, 20 May 2013

Stephen Metcalfe MP recommends more systematic approach to educating tomorrow’s engineers

Stephen Metcalfe, local MP for South Basildon and East Thurrock, rose on the floor of Westminster Hall last week to encourage the Government to take a more systematic approach to educating tomorrow’s engineers.

The debate followed a report by the Science and Technology Committee, of which Mr Metcalfe is a member, which urged the Government to do more to ensure that there are enough skilled engineers to take us into the future.

The UK is home to more than 500,000 engineering companies, employing 5.4 million people, of whom 2.3 million would consider themselves to be skilled engineers. The industry accounts for one fifth of GDP and turns over £1.15 trillion a year making it vital to the country’s economic prosperity.

The local MP commented: “As it stands, there is a chronic shortage of skilled engineers to meet our increasingly complex needs. Companies across the industry are reporting this as a problem and for some, it is stopping them expanding which course is not good for our economy.”

“This is not just a national issue, it is a vital local issue. Basildon and Thurrock have a fantastic engineering heritage. I am extremely proud to have companies such as SELEX, Case New Holland, Ford, Gardner Aerospace and DP World in my constituency which is why it is paramount that we provide them with an army of skilled workers to build on this heritage for the future.”

Engineering UK project that there will be 2.74 million job openings between 2010-2020 whilst the Confederation of British Industry report that 42% of employers are currently experiencing difficulties in recruiting STEM staff at all levels.

Mr Metcalfe pushed through a recommendation in the report asking the Government to work with learned societies, professional engineering institutions and trade bodies and oblige their members to systematically go into schools to promote engineering and technology.

He also praised DP World’s London Gateway new apprenticeship scheme which will see six apprentices earn a salary whilst gaining nationally recognised engineering qualifications.

The local MP added: “We must start equipping our young people with the skills they need to meet the challenges of the future. I am delighted that DP World are doing this and I would encourage engineering firms across the board to the same.”

“Another way in which we can do this is through University Technical Colleges. These have been extremely successful in offering young people a unique insight into the industry and I would love to see one in Basildon. I will continue to raise this with the Government and more generally, I will do all I can to ensure that we have a framework in place that will allow the next generation of engineers to take our society forward.”

Stephen Metcalfe MP welcomes London Gateway apprenticeships

Stephen Metcalfe, local MP for South Basildon and East Thurrock, has welcomed DP World London Gateway’s new apprenticeship scheme which was launched today at the site in Thurrock.

The local MP was joined at the launch by Thames Gateway Minister, Brandon Lewis, to advertise the six apprenticeships on offer and to raise the profile of the many other job opportunities available at London Gateway.

The London Gateway team are looking for six apprentices to undertake a four year paid programme combining academic study, training and practical work experience in engineering. Each apprentice will receive an annual salary and leave the scheme with a nationally recognised NHC in engineering.

Mr Metcalfe commented: “This scheme is exactly what we need to inspire the next generation of engineers in South Basildon and East Thurrock. We have a global company investing heavily in our local area and I am delighted that young people will be able to reap the benefits of this.”

“I am passionate about driving forward skills growth in my constituency and hope that young people throughout South Basildon and East Thurrock will apply for this opportunity of a lifetime.”

During the launch, Brandon Lewis MP and Stephen Metcalfe MP were shown London Gateway’s quay cranes, amongst the largest in the world, and had the chance to see what working at London Gateway would be like. A group of potential candidates from South Essex College were also given a site tour by the London Gateway team.

Simon Moore, CEO, DP World London Gateway, said: “We are now looking for six candidates with a passion for engineering and then we’ll do the rest. The team at DP World London Gateway is committed to delivering highly skilled jobs to the local area and this is a great opportunity to learn and gain valuable experience and qualifications. These opportunities are just some of many already offered, as we have many jobs across different skills available now.”

South Essex College of Higher Education, with campuses in Thurrock, Basildon and Southend-on-Sea will be the provider of the apprenticeship scheme.

Angela O’Donoghue, Principal and Chief Executive at South Essex College, said: “We are delighted to be delivering Advanced Engineering Apprenticeships with such a major employer.  These are really exciting times for the area and we are thrilled to be part of it. There’s no better way to back young people’s aspirations than an apprenticeship; it is an investment in the skills that will make a huge difference to their careers.” 

Mr Metcalfe added: “To find out more, please visit DP World’s emerging talent website: The closing date for the scheme is 14th June so start your applications now!”

Thursday, 16 May 2013

Stephen Metcalfe MP welcomes £10million for hospital aftercare for the homeless

Stephen Metcalfe, local MP for South Basildon and East Thurrock, has welcomed the news that homeless people are to receive better help once they leave hospital thanks to £10million funding from the Government. 
It is estimated that 70 per cent of homeless people are currently discharged from hospital back onto the street without their health and housing problems being properly addressed. 

The funding pot will support voluntary organisations to work with the NHS and local authorities to create services to ensure that homeless people receive the best possible support and care after leaving hospital.

The £10million funding will also be used to ensure better intermediate care is available after discharge - vital for recovering from health problems such as TB.

Housing Minister Mark Prisk said: “This country has some of the strongest protections against homelessness in the world, but there is always more to do. That is why we are working right across Government to make sure that every contact counts.

“Backed by £470 million Government investment in homelessness prevention, today’s funding will ensure vulnerable people are put in touch with the right help early on, getting their lives back on track, saving the need for repeat treatment.”

Rick Henderson, Chief Executive of Homeless Link, commented: This investment is fantastic news and will go a long way in addressing a real issue around the way the NHS deals with homeless people leaving hospital. Patching people up and sending them back out to the streets where their problems will recur only leads to readmission and continued problems.”

“This issue has existed for too long. We hope this investment will be the catalyst for hospitals, councils and charities to work together to stop this cycle of homelessness, poor health and readmission once and for all.”      

Stephen Metcalfe MP added: “This really is great news for homeless people up and down the country. The ill health of homeless people is extreme and disproportionate and I am delighted that the Government is so committed to addressing it.”

Homeless people attend A&E six times more than people with a home and are admitted to hospital four times as often. The cost of treating them in hospital is eight times higher than average at £85 million.

Stephen Metcalfe MP supports autism campaign

Local MP Stephen Metcalfe is backing The National Autistic Society’s (NAS) new campaign aimed at improving support for adults with autism in South Basildon and East Thurrock and across England.

One in every hundred adults has autism, meaning there are 300,000 adults in England with the disability.

Mr Metcalfe’s endorsement of the ‘Push For Action’ campaign follows a recent NAS survey of 1100 people across England, which showed that many adults with the disability are missing out on the support they need:

  • 36% of people with autism said they need help to wash and dress. But only 7% get this support from social services.
  • 77% of people with autism say they need help to manage money. But only 4% get this support from social services.
  • 53% of people with autism say they want help to find work. But only 10% get the support to do so. 

These findings come despite the existence of the Autism Act 2009, which was designed to improve support for adults with autism and their families. The new NAS research shows that while there have been some improvements, far too many people with autism are still waiting for the right services.

This year the Government is reviewing the impact of the Autism Act. Stephen Metcalfe is supporting ‘Push for Action’ to make sure adults with autism in South Basildon and East Thurrock and across England can access support.

Stephen commented: “If they don’t have the right support, many people with autism can struggle with the everyday activities that many of us take for granted. With the impact of the Autism Act under review, I hope I can count on the support of local people in the area to get behind the NAS’ ‘Push for Action’ campaign, and seize this opportunity to improve life for adults with the condition.”

“I will be writing to Essex County Council and Thurrock council to make sure the needs of people with autism in the local area are being put front and centre.”

Mark Lever NAS Chief Executive said: “It’s great news that Stephen Metcalfe MP is championing this important campaign. Adults with autism have been waiting a long time to get the everyday support that they need.”

“We’ve seen great strides forward in some parts of the country since 2009, but progress has been too slow and too patchy.

“The Government's Autism Act review gives people with autism a second chance to be heard – we need to make it count.”

Stephen Metcalfe MP supports carers in South Basildon and East Thurrock

To celebrate the launch of Carers Week, 10-16 June 2013, local MP, Stephen Metcalfe, has joined forces with actress Lynda Bellingham, to recognise the contribution that carers in South Basildon and East Thurrock make on a daily basis.

In a photocall in Westminster, Mr Metcalfe, pledged his support to carers across South Basildon and East Thurrock as part of the national awareness campaign, Carers Week. The week is an opportunity to celebrate the 6.5 million carers across the UK and raise awareness of the impact that caring has on people’s lives.

In 2013 Carers Week will be focusing on whether the nation is Prepared to Care? The campaign will highlight how the UK’s current carer population is coping, how effectively government is supporting the growing numbers of carers, and whether the wider population is prepared for future caring responsibilities.

As part of Carers Week, a number of events will be held in and around the local area, to help carers access support and advice. Carers can find out what’s going on at

Stephen commented: “Every day across Essex 1 in 8 people will care for a loved one in some form. This hidden group of people give up their time, sometimes their jobs and often make life changing sacrifices to care for someone.

“Carers save this country an incredible £119 billion1 every year. That’s why I believe as a society we must be Prepared to Care for our carers.”

Actress and former carer, Lynda Bellingham, said:  “My sister and I cared for our mother when she had Alzheimer’s so I know first-hand the impact that caring can have on someone’s life. That’s why I’m supporting Carers Week because I believe it’s vital that help is made available, especially when you consider that every day 6,000 new people will take on a caring role for a loved one. Carers in this country do a fantastic job and we must come together to support them.”

“It’s fantastic to see MPs pledge their support for Carers Week and carers in the UK. Events like this ensure that carers stay at the top of the political agenda and it’s also an opportunity to remind MPs and decision makers of the overwhelming contribution that carers make.”

Helen Clarke, Carers Week Manager, commented: “It’s fantastic to see MPs taking a stand for carers. Carers form the backbone of our society and that’s why Carers Week is so incredibly important to not only recognise their contribution, but ensure they get the help and support they need.”

Carers Week is delivered by a partnership of national charities – Age UK, Carers Trust, Carers UK, Independent Age, Macmillan Cancer Support, Marie Curie Cancer Care, MS Society, Parkinson’s UK and supported by the Stroke Association and Bupa’s Carewell. In 2013 it is sponsored by Sainsbury’s Plc and the sector skills council in England Skills for Care.

For more information, see:                 Twitter @carersweek.

Wednesday, 15 May 2013

Stephen Metcalfe MP champions interests of constituents in Queen’s Speech debate

Stephen Metcalfe rose on the floor of the House of Commons last Friday to champion the interests of people in South Basildon and East Thurrock in a debate on the Queen’s Speech.

Mr Metcalfe drew the Government’s attention to three key areas: Immigration, anti social behaviour and access to finance for small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs).

Whilst stressing the need for a balanced approach to immigration, he praised the Government’s commitment to deporting foreign criminals saying it would demonstrate to the people of South Basildon and East Thurrock that British interests are being first. This Government have already cut immigration by a third and it is hoped that new measures which include stopping immigrants having automatic access to public services will keep this figure heading in the right direction.

He also praised new measures that will make tackling anti-social behaviour much easier. Mr Metcalfe has a long standing commitment with local people to tackle anti-social behaviour having promised to do so when he was elected in 2010. In the debate, the local MP said that it is the “scourge of many of our estates and town centres, and the description belies its seriousness.”

He later added: “Anti-social behaviour is an extremely important issue that can make people’s lives a living hell. When I organised an anti-social behaviour conference in my constituency, I heard first hand from local people how devastating it can be. It is therefore vital that it is tackled and I am extremely pleased with new Government measures that will make it easier to do so.”

Finally, Mr Metcalfe championed the rise of SME’s in South Basildon and East Thurrock, which are growing at a rate of three times the national average, and calling on the Government to make it easier for them to access much needed finance. 

He commented: “Whilst progress has been made in this area, finance initiatives are yet to address both the cost and issue of access to finance. Banks are still adopting a risk adverse approach and I have called on the Government to intervene to ensure that finance is getting where it is needed most.”

“I have urged the Government to use their borrowing powers to borrow money and then lend it to businesses at the rate at which it was borrowed or at a subsidised rate. I think this would be a vital kick-start to our economy.”

“I remain confident that the measures announced in the Queen’s Speech will be vital in tackling the toxic legacy left by the previous Labour Government and I look forward to seeing the country reap the benefits in the near future.”

Stephen Metcalfe MP calls on constituents to think ahead to next winter’s energy bill

Stephen Metcalfe, local MP for South Basildon and East Thurrock, is calling on constituents to think ahead to next winter’s energy bill in a campaign by the Home Heat Helpline and Energy UK.

Although it might seem a bit early to be thinking about next winter’s bills, the Home Heat Helpline say that nearly half of people eligible for help with their heating bills did not claim last year.

Angela Knight, Chief Executive of Energy UK commented: “Now that we at last are seeing some sun, this is absolutely the right time to get ready to keep warm next winter and to start saving money. Don’t wait until it’s cold to see if you’re eligible.”

Stephen Metcalfe MP added: “People tend to ring the helpline in the winter months but Energy UK is urging people to get ready for winter now. If you ring the helpline, you can find out what you are eligible for. It might mean that your home will be warmer next winter and you’ll have savings in your pocket.”

With next winter possibly only five months away, Energy UK is urging people to start planning NOW with five simple summer savers.

1.   Call the Home Heat Helpline - find out what help you might be eligible for and how to save money on  your energy bill.

2.    Apply for your Warm Home Discount – all the major energy suppliers give £135 off to customers who are struggling with their bills and are over 70, living with long-term disabilities or bringing up young children at home. Avoid the rush and apply now – most applications are open.

3.   Get a free home energy check - Every supplier will be able to offer help and advice on what you can do today to save next winter – and most will do it for free. Make sure you talk to your energy supplier about your own home and circumstances. 

4.   Fix the leaks - summer is the perfect time to install insulation in your home to ensure you are warm through the winter. Companies offer to do this work for free or at heavily subsidised rates for some customers and the Home Heat Helpline can help you find out if you might qualify.

5.   Spring clean your boiler – while its warm and the boiler takes a welcome break make sure your boiler is as efficient as it can be. If your boiler is 15 years old or more it might be time for a replacement. Boilers account for around 55% of what you spend in a year on energy bills, so it’s worth doing if you need to.

The helpline can be reached on 0800 33 66 99. People can call to speak to one of the friendly advisors or visit, where you can now chat online to advisers if you’d rather not call.

In the last year, over 40,000 people have called the Home Heat Helpline to claim assistance with their fuel bills.

Home Heat Helpline: 0800 33 66 99 or

Follow the Home Heat Helpline on Twitter for added advice and updates @HHHelpline

Monday, 13 May 2013

Stephen Metcalfe MP sets cyclists on their way at Rotary Club ride

Stephen Metcalfe, local MP for South Basildon and East Thurrock, started Basildon Rotary Club’s annual bike ride this Sunday.

Over 200 cyclists paid £15 to take part in 20, 40, or 70 mile rides to raise money for Essex Air Ambulance and other rotary charities including Young Carers and Women’s aid.  Over £3,000 was raised from entrants alone with sponsorship money still to come in.

Essex Air Ambulance, unlike NHS emergency services, is a charity providing a free life-saving Helicopter Emergency Medical Service for people in Essex. Their total monthly running costs are approximately £250,000 making fundraising events such as this vital for their continuing work.

Mr Metcalfe commented: “I was delighted to have been asked to start the Basildon Rotary Club’s 6th annual bike ride. It was so encouraging to see such a strong turn out and I am delighted that so much money has been raised for Essex Air Ambulance and other causes in the local area.”

All riders enjoyed the event and have said they would ride again so the Rotary Club are already busy sorting out next year’s event. The Basildon Rotary Club organise other events and projects throughout the year supporting a variety of important causes both in the local area and overseas.

Mr Metcalfe added: “I would like to thank all those at the Rotary Club who worked so hard to bring this event to life and for their continued dedication to local causes. I look forward to supporting them in the future and hope that local charities will continue to benefit from their hard work for many more years to come.”

Stephen Metcalfe MP joins Sir David Attenborough at opening of Thameside Nature Park

Stephen Metcalfe, local MP for South Basildon and East Thurrock, joined legendary broadcaster Sir David Attenborough at the opening of the Thameside Nature Park on Saturday.

The former landfill site has been transformed into a beautiful and innovative nature reserve and visitor centre with superb views over the flats and Thames Estuary. The 120 acre wildlife site lies on 50 years of waster from six London Boroughs making the transformation into grasslands, woodland, ponds and reedbeds quite remarkable.

Mr Metcalfe commented: “Despite the weather, it was fantastic to be at the opening of this incredible site and to be in the esteemed company of Sir David Attenbourgh. The transformation really is incredible and it is something that Essex Wildlife Trust should be extremely proud of.”

“It is not only an achievement in terms of nature but also for science and engineering. The methane gas created by the waste from the landfill is being siphoned off underground to be used for energy and the visitor centre comes complete with hydraulic jacks to cope with settlement of the rubbish below.”

The site has become a haven for bees, thousands of birds, and reptiles and has attracted rare and threatened species including the skylark, adders, the shill carder bee, and water voles.  There are also cycle paths and walkways enabling visitors to see all that the reserve has to offer.

Mr Metcalfe added: “Sir David Attenborough was right when he said This is a great new chapter in the history of this part of the Thames Estuary. I would encourage all of my constituents to get out and enjoy this great place and I look forward to seeing it grow and develop in the future.”

Stephen Metcalfe MP joins RNIB’s ‘Spot the Signs’ campaign to fight against avoidable sight loss

Stephen Metcalfe MP is joining the Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB) to urge constituents in South Basildon and East Thurrock to learn how to spot the signs of wet Age- related macular degeneration (AMD).

AMD is the biggest cause of sight loss in the UK but can be prevented with quick intervention. RNIB can help you understand the early signs of wet AMD - just Google Spot the Signs.

Lack of awareness is risking thousands of people's sight each year. Nearly half of adults (48 per cent) have never heard of the condition and only just over a third of adults (36 per cent) would make an appointment with their GP or optician straight away if they started experiencing blurry vision or wavy lines.

Stephen Metcalfe MP is supporting RNIB's 'Spot the signs' campaign to encourage over 50s to recognise the early signs of AMD. These are:

•        Straight lines start to appear wavy, curved or distorted.
•        Small print becomes difficult to read even when wearing reading glasses
•        People’s faces start to appear blurry.

There are two main types of AMD, wet and dry. There is no current treatment for dry AMD but sight saving treatment is available for the wet type if diagnosed in time.

About 40,000 people develop wet AMD each year, however both the public and medical profession are failing to recognise the urgency needed to diagnose and treat the condition which can take your eye sight in as little as three months.

Mr Metcalfe commented: “I would strongly urge anyone who is over 50 and anyone in the medical profession to find out how to spot the signs of AMD. The deterioration of your sight can be managed with treatment if caught in time. Sight is an extremely precious thing and I hate to think of people losing it if it can be prevented.”

RNIB's research report - Don't lose sight! Don't delay! reveals that Just under 70 per cent of patients were not diagnosed within seven days  in accordance with professional guidance - increasing their chances of permanently losing their central vision.

Steve Winyard, Head of Policy and campaigns at RNIB, said: "We welcome the support of Stephen Metcalfe MP in raising awareness of the signs of wet AMD. Losing your central vision can have profound consequences, with many people unable to carry out basic tasks such as driving, chopping vegetables, reading a newspaper or writing a shopping list. However, it doesn't have to be this way and people need to be aware of the early sign of wet AMD so they can act quickly and avoid sight loss."

To find out more on how to Spot the signs of AMD and other eye diseases visit or call RNIB Helpline on 0303 123 9999.

Thursday, 9 May 2013

Stephen Metcalfe MP welcomes new immigration measures in Queen’s Speech

Stephen Metcalfe, local MP for South Basildon and East Thurrock, has welcomed the announcement of new measures to tackle immigration in the Queen’s Speech yesterday.

The new Immigration Bill brings forward measures to clamp down on those from overseas who abuse the system by stopping immigrants accessing public services which they are not entitled to, compelling landlords to check the immigration status of their tenants, and by legislating to ensure that the right to a family life is not abused.

Stephen Metcalfe commented: “We want this country to attract people who will add to our national life, but those who do not should be deterred. Of course there are extenuating circumstances to this but we must stop people who come here to abuse our benefits and welfare system when there are many UK citizens in need of assistance. This is simply not fair on tax payers and this Bill will be pivotal in restoring a sense of justice in the system.”

Amongst other measures announced in the Queen’s Speech yesterday were the National Insurance Bill which aims to cut the cost of recruiting new employees for small businesses, the Care Bill which will cap the costs of care and extend the means test threshold for financial assistance, and measures to tackle anti-social behaviour.

Stephen added: “I welcome the Bills announced yesterday. They demonstrate that this Government is listening and that we are on the side of hard working people. I look forward to seeing the results of the new measures once they have been fully implemented.”

Wednesday, 8 May 2013

Stephen Metcalfe MP eyes opportunities for young people in South Basildon and East Thurrock

Last week local MP Stephen Metcalfe visited some of Essex University’s new facilities to see what is on offer for students from South Basildon and East Thurrock.

In particular, Mr Metcalfe went to see the new Edge Hotel School, the only hotel school sited in a country house hotel and catering to the luxury end of the market.

In this unique setting, students learn and work alongside hospitality professionals, gaining hands-on experience with a fast track to a respected degree in Hotel Management.

Mr Metcalfe commented: “This is a fantastic opportunity for those considering going into the hospitality industry. The course, which combines academic theory and practical experience, aims to make the students as employable as possible and this can only be a good thing.”

The Hotel’s close association and collaborative relationship with the industry means that scholarships, master classes and sponsorship are available.

The local MP added: “There is an open event on 22nd June and I would encourage anyone who is interested to visit the website and find out more:

Whilst at the University Mr Metcalfe also visited the Computer Science and Engineering School to see what they have on offer for prospective Masters and PhD students from South Basildon and East Thurrock.

Amongst other things he was shown the Robotics Arena and the Brain Computer Interface Lab.  Stephen, who is a staunch supporter of science and engineering in his constituency commented: “The science facilities at the university were fantastic. Studying in an environment such as this and contributing to cutting edge research is something that all students interested in science can aspire to.”

Tuesday, 7 May 2013

Stephen Metcalfe MP judges Battle of the Bands

Stephen Metcalfe, local MP for South Basildon and East Thurrock, was guest judge at the Gateway 97.8 FM Battle of the Bands final last Friday at the Springhouse Club, Corringham.

Co-sponsored by the Yellow Advertiser and Corringham Rotary Club, the event saw the final six bands compete for the Battle of the Bands title in an X-factor style play off. The judges, who included local MP Stephen Metcalfe, had the opportunity to comment on each band after their performances before crowning Not Now John winners.

The other acts battling for the top spot were Something Simple, Accidental Tourists, Vice Versa, Such Strange Arts and The Brit Invasion. Last year’s winners, The Ends, also made a guest appearance.

Mr Metcalfe commented: “This was a fantastic event showcasing some of the best of our local musical talent.  The standard was incredibly high and I think all of the judges found it difficult to decide on a winner.”

“I would like to congratulate all who took part, especially winners Not Now John, and I would like to thank Gateway FM, the Yellow Advertiser and Corringham Rotary Club for organising the event.”

The evening, as well as being enjoyed by all, raised £1600 for the Parkinson’s Support Group in Thurrock.

The local MP added: “A great sum of money was raised for the local Parkinson’s Support Group at the competition and I would like to thank everyone who gave to this extremely worthy cause. I am sure it will make a real difference to those in the local community affected by this debilitating disease.”

Stephen Metcalfe MP calls on local teens to take opportunity of a lifetime

Stephen Metcalfe MP is today encouraging all 16-17 years olds in South Basildon and East Thurrock to sign up for the National Citizen Service (NCS), an exciting summer programme aiming to give the young people an experience of a lifetime.

During 2013 summer holidays or half terms, NCS will see young people from all over the country embark on action-packed and skills-building courses as well as planning, funding and completing a project which benefits their community.

Mr Metcalfe commented: "NCS is a brilliant new scheme which I think will work wonders in South Basildon and East Thurrock, a community which relies on the generosity and engagement of its citizens. I strongly encourage young people to take this opportunity to learn new skills and make new friends while it is available, and I want parents to pester them until they sign up too."

Participants will make new friends and challenge themselves throughout the programme, first taking on outward bound activities like cave bouldering, rafting and abseiling, then learning new skills and creating community projects on issues that matter to them.

Previous NCS cohorts have embraced the challenge of giving back to the local community, organising events such as music gigs to raise money for a local hospice, bake sales, and 'sleep-outs' to raise awareness about homelessness.

Liam Simms, an East of England NCS participant from February 2013, encouraged other young people to sign up for the programme at his graduation ceremony. He said:  "If you know anyone who is 16 or 17 and they get the opportunity to do NCS, then definitely go for it."

Another participant, Aaron Edwards, said: "There's only one thing I don't like about NCS, and that's that I can't do it again."

Minister for Civil Society, Nick Hurd MP, has championed NCS since its conception in 2011: “I am delighted that we will be providing young people with the chance of a lifetime to develop their skills, take on new challenges and adventures, meet new people from a range of backgrounds and have a lot of fun along the way."

NCS is a national programme which is being run across the East of England by employment and skills provider Reed in Partnership.

James Reed, Chairman of Reed Group and Managing Director of Reed in Partnership, said: "Whether you are a young person dreaming of a career in finance, construction or anywhere in-between, having NCS written on your CV will be invaluable in the future."

For more information, visit, call 0845 460 7410, email or find "NCS East" on Facebook and Twitter.

Wednesday, 1 May 2013

Stephen Metcalfe MP welcomes Alternative Education Programme students to Parliament

Last Monday, Stephen Metcalfe, local MP for South Basildon and East Thurrock, welcomed students from the Alternative Education Programme in Basildon to Parliament for a tour and catch up.

The Programme takes places five days a week at Southern Hay Youth Hub and gives students in year 11 who have struggled to engage well in formal schooling the opportunity to learn valuable skills for later life.

Mr Metcalfe has been a big supporter of the programme and having been hosted at the Youth Hub on a number of occasions was keen to reciprocate the invite in the Houses Parliament.

The students were treated to a tour of the House of Commons and House of Lords before meeting with the local MP in the grand setting of Westminster Hall.

He later commented: “Having been to the Youth Hub, I was extremely keen to get the young people to Parliament.  It is a very enriching place and I am glad that they got to get a feel of that and an insight into the way Parliament works.”

“It was also great to catch up with some familiar faces and find out what they have been up to since we last met. I would like to extend my sincere thanks to all those who work so hard on bringing the program to life and I look forward to seeing more of their students here in Westminster in the future. In the meantime, I will continue to support them in whatever way I can.”

Stephen Metcalfe MP welcomes new prison regime

Stephen Metcalfe, local MP for South Basildon and East Thurrock, has welcomed a new policy that will see tougher regimes in place for prisoners whilst in prison.

In the future, prisoners from across England and Wales will need to make real progress towards their own rehabilitation and work hard in prison before they can receive privileges like access to television sets and being able to wear their own clothes.

Under the new policy, the mere absence of bad behaviour will not be enough to earn perks, as is the case at the moment. Other changes include:
  • All convicted adult male prisoners will have to wear prison uniform whilst on the new Entry-level in prisons.
  • In-cell television sets will not be provided for prisoners on basic level and no prisoner should be allowed to watch television when he should be working or engaging in purposeful activity.
  • Prison regimes will change so that convicted prisoners will work a longer day and bad behaviour will lead to a downgrade in status.

Welcoming the new measures, local Conservative MP Stephen Metcalfe said: “Like many local people in South Basildon and East Thurrock, I think our prisons should be places of hard work and serious rehabilitation. Any privileges that convicted criminals receive should be hard-earned, and be rewards for taking real steps towards rehabilitation and reform. They certainly should not come as a right.”

“I am extremely pleased with these new measures. They will ensure that prisons are serious places of reform and, as a result, make our streets and communities safer.”

Conservative Justice Secretary Chris Grayling MP said: “It is not right that some prisoners appear to be spending hours languishing in their cells and watching daytime television while the rest of the country goes out to work.”

“For too long, there has been an expectation that privileges are an automatic right, given simply as a reward for staying out of trouble. This cannot continue.  Prisoners need to earn privileges, not simply through the avoidance of bad behaviour but also by working, taking part in education or accepting the opportunities to rehabilitate themselves”

“We have reviewed the scheme fully, and I believe it is now something the public can have confidence in. Only by tackling bad behaviour and taking part in education or work programmes as well as addressing any alcohol or drug issues can we cut reoffending.”

Stephen Metcalfe MP supports campaign to stop MS lottery

Stephen Metcalfe, local MP for South Basildon and East Thurrock, is backing the MS Society’s ‘Stop the MS lottery’ campaign after attending an event in Parliament this week.

A report by the charity has revealed major disparities in access to MS medicines, social care support, employment support and health professionals across the UK.

The MS Society surveyed more than 10,000 people with multiple sclerosis (MS) to inform the report. It asked what services they needed and to what extent these needs had been met over the previous 12 months. The charity is now calling for an end to the MS lottery and will be campaigning to ensure people have fair access to the treatments and services they need, when they need them, wherever they live.

Ultimately, the MS Society wants every person with MS to have a personalised treatment, care and support plan, with two comprehensive reviews each year.

Stephen Metcalfe MP said: “Too many people with MS are not getting access to the treatments, support and health professionals that would make a huge difference to their quality of life. I’m backing the MS Society’s campaign to Stop the MS lottery to ensure access is no longer based on luck but instead on genuine need.”

100,000 people live with multiple sclerosis in the UK. MS attacks at random and many of the symptoms are invisible to others. It affects almost three times as many women as men and people are usually diagnosed in their 20s or 30s; news that can be scary and heartbreaking.

“A lottery of treatment and care: MS services across the UK” was released to mark MS Week, which runs from 29 April – 5 May.

Mr Metcalfe added: “I would encourage all of constituents to visit to support the campaign and to get more information about this cruel illness.”

To see a more extensive list of what this Government has achieved in office, click here.

Stephen Metcalfe MP congratulates Young Firefighters at passing out parade

Stephen Metcalfe, local MP for South Basildon and East Thurrock, has extended his congrats to the Orsett Young Firefighters who, after completing a 17 week course, had their passing out parade at Orsett fire station last Friday.

The young people from across the local area have enjoyed a varied, challenging, and character building program providing the students with an invaluable insight to the fire service and helping them to aspire to the high personal standards of Essex Fire and Rescue Service.

Students were continually assessed in areas such as punctuality, communication skills, conduct and politeness and relationship with workmates and supervisors, and were given hands on experience of firefighting techniques.

Local MP Stephen Metcalfe commented: “I was delighted to attend the passing out parade for the second year running. The scheme not only provides an invaluable insight to the fire service but it gives young people something to aspire to. Being part of a uniformed service is an incredible responsibility and a great achievement and I am so glad that young people in my constituency can get a taste of that.”

“I would like to thank all those who organised the event and those who dedicate their time and efforts to the program. I would also like to offer my congratulations to the young people who have completed the course and look forward to seeing many more do so in the future!”