Monday, 30 September 2013

Stephen Metcalfe MP brings Parliament to Bulphan Primary School

Stephen Metcalfe, local MP for South Basildon and East Thurrock, brought Parliament to Bulphan C of E Primary School this week when he joined the students for a Parliamentary style debate.

The MP received a warm welcome from both pupils and staff before joining a select group for a debate on the length of school holidays.  The benches of students were separated by a table turned despatch box and proceedings were governed by a pupil acting as Speaker.

A lively discussion followed in which one side argued that school holidays should be shorter, whilst the other championed the opposite opinion.

Mr Metcalfe regularly visits local primary schools to lend his support to their activities and to educate the pupils about the role of an MP. He later commented: “I was delighted to have been invited to Bulphan Primary School for this brilliant debate! It is a great way of engaging children in the Parliamentary process and to give them a small taste of what it is like to be an MP during a debate.”

“I was incredibly impressed by their enthusiasm, by their preparedness and also by how respectful they were of each other. I would to thank Bulphan for their warm welcome and for all of their hard work in putting the debate together.”

The local MP added: “I would love to see similar events taking place in schools across South Basildon and East Thurrock and I will soon be in touch with local Headteachers about Parliament Week which provides the perfect opportunity to bring a bit of Parliament into the class room.”

Parliament Week 2013 begins  on 15th November and will see organisations around the country join in a week long programme of activities and events– all designed to inform, inspire and connect people all over the UK with parliamentary democracy.

Part of this year's programme will focus on Women in Democracy – celebrating women’s contribution to UK democratic life and exploring how women’s voices can be better heard. 

For further information about Parliament Week please see:

Stephen Metcalfe MP urges constituents to check their risk of Type 2 Diabetes

Local MP Stephen Metcalfe is urging residents of South Basildon and East Thurrock to have their risk of Type 2 diabetes tested as part of a campaign by Diabetes UK.

The Diabetes UK campaign aims to help people understand the seriousness of Type 2 diabetes, which can lead to devastating health complications such as amputation, blindness and stroke, so that people understand the importance of preventing it.

The campaign will also raise awareness of the risk factors of the condition – being over 40 (or over 25 if you are from a South Asian background); being overweight or having a close family member with diabetes – and is urging people to take a risk assessment if any of these risk factors apply to them. People can do this online (, by visiting a pharmacy or by going to their GP. Those at high risk can then be given information about how to reduce their risk as up to 80 per cent of cases of Type 2 diabetes can be delayed or prevented through healthy lifestyle changes.

As well as identifying those at high risk, the campaign is expected to identify some of the estimated 850,000 people in the country who have undiagnosed Type 2 diabetes. It is really important that these people are detected as if the condition is not diagnosed early, or is left untreated, it is more likely to lead to devastating complications such as heart disease, stroke, kidney disease, blindness and amputation.

Mr Metcalfe commented: “Type 2 diabetes is a very serious condition that can lead to devastating complications. Yet there are many people in South Basildon and East Thurrock who might be at high risk of the condition or already have it but don’t know it. It is important that these people get assessed so that they can get the treatment and support that they need to reduce their risk or manage the condition. It is one of the best things you can do for your health and for your family!” 

Barbara Young, Diabetes UK Chief Executive, said: “Diabetes is one of the greatest health challenges that we face. There are 7 million people at high risk of Type 2 diabetes and the rise of the condition is leading to early deaths and devastating health complications and heartache to families. It’s essential that people in South Basildon and East Thurrock get checked and this is why I’m delighted that Stephen Metcalfe MP has added his/her voice to this call.”

Wednesday, 25 September 2013

Stephen Metcalfe MP helps to ‘Feed Britain’s Future’ at local Tesco store

Stephen Metcalfe, local MP for South Basildon and East Thurrock, joined staff at Langdon Hills Tesco to inspire young people at Tesco’s Feeding Britain’s Future, Skills for Work Week.

Skills for Work Week is an industry wide initiative that sees stores across the country host workshops on key employability skills.  The free training day was attended by young people from the local area with personnel managers imparting their experience and industry insights on CV writing, searching for a job, and preparing for an interview.

Tesco is just one of 180 businesses across the food industry taking part in ‘Feeding Britain’s Future 2013’, a month long campaign  run by industry body the Institute of Grocery Distributors.  The food industry employs more people in the UK than any other in the private sector, and the aim of the campign is to help  young people get into work and learn about careers in the food industry. 

Judith Nelson, UK Personnel Director at Tesco said “We are really pleased to support the IGD’s ‘Feeding Britain’s Future’ campaign.  Providing young people with the skills and opportunities to get into work is something we are passionate about, and this is also a great chance to showcase the range of careers on offer at Tesco and across the industry.”

Tesco offered 100 training places for local people on Job Seekers’ Allowance at the Basildon store between Monday 16th and Friday 20th September, plus a further 1,900 at 19 other participating stores across the country.

Mr Metcalfe commented: “I was delighted to be able to spend some time with the young people attending Tesco’s Feeding Britain’s Future training sessions. It has never been more important to help equip our young people with the skills they need to join the workforce and I am extremely pleased to see large local employers playing their part.”

“I would like to thank Tesco for the session and hope that young people in Basildon will continue to take advantage of great opportunities such as this.”

Monday, 23 September 2013

Stephen Metcalfe MP celebrates a summer of local volunteering with the National Citizen Service

Last week Stephen Metcalfe, local MP for South Basildon and East Thurrock, joined 250 teenagers from the local area to celebrate their completion of National Citizen Service, a four week summer programme which engages young people with their local community.

The community-spirited teenagers were joined by parents and friends at Grays Civic Hall for an evening of speeches from the local MP and an NCS Team Leader, as well as live music from 15 year old singer Louisa Johnson.

National Citizen Service (NCS) is a government-run scheme which takes 16 and 17 year olds on action-packed and skills-building residential courses. The programme ends with teams of 15 devising and completing a project to improve the local community.

Stephen Metcalfe MP presented every participant with a certificate signed by the Prime Minister David Cameron. Mr Metcalfe had met several NCS participants earlier this summer at one of their residential team-building sessions in Upminster and has been supporting the program on an ongoing basis.

In his speech he praised the young participants for their hard work and thanked them for all they have done in the local community. He later added: “It was a tremendous privilege to participate in the NCS graduation ceremony. Having promoted the scheme to local schools earlier in the year, it was fantastic to see young people from South Basildon and East Thurrock graduate. I hope that this year’s graduates will inspire a new cohort of NCS participants and I look forward to supporting this process in whatever way I can.”

Projects in Essex this summer included teams volunteering at local hospices and children's homes, staging 'jailbreaks' from Chelmsford prison to raise money for St Helena Hospice, as well as raising thousands of pounds for local charities through bake sales and family fun days.

NCS is a national programme which costs each participant a maximum of £50, although it is free of charge for those on free school meals. It is run in locally by Essex Boys And Girls' Clubs and Essex County Council, and managed across the East of England by public service provider Reed in Partnership. 

Teenagers can sign up now to take part in NCS during the October 2013 or February 2013 half terms at

Tuesday, 17 September 2013

Stephen Metcalfe MP’s campaign pays off as CCTV cameras are switched back on

Stephen Metcalfe, local MP for South Basildon and East Thurrock, visited Felmores End, Pitsea last week to mark the return of CCTV cameras to the area after they were switched off four years ago.

The local MP has long campaigned for the cameras to be switched on after concerns were raised by local shop keepers about the safety of the parade of shops. Basildon Council will now pay the £1,500 needed to keep the cameras in operation.

The parade has become notorious for anti-social behaviour with the off-licence being the only one in the borough to use bank-style security glass to protect staff and stock. The return of surveillance I hope will be welcomed by shop keepers and local residents alike.

Mr Metcalfe commented: “I am delighted with this result. It was simply unacceptable that my constituents felt threatened when using the shops and that shop keepers could not conduct their work without fear of anti social behaviour.” 

“I am extremely grateful that this issue was brought to my attention and I am pleased that Basildon Council have listened and responded to the needs of the local community. I now hope that the cameras will make a real difference to the levels of anti-social behaviour and I will continue to work with the local community to ensure that this is the case.”

Stephen Metcalfe MP pays a visit to high flying Gable Hall

Last week Stephen Metcalfe, local MP for South Basildon and East Thurrock, paid a visit to Gable Hall School to meet with their student leadership team and to present them with an EQualities Award.

The visit and the award follow on from a fantastic year of GCSE results whereby 73% of pupils achieved a record 5 GCSE’s at A*-C.

As well as discussing a range of issues with the student leadership team, Mr Metcalfe also presented the school with an award to celebrate their commitment to eliminating discrimination, advancing equality of opportunity and fostering good relations.

The award was developed in response to the Equality Act 2010 which established nine ‘protected characteristics’ including age, disability, ethnicity, gender, religion and belief, and sexual identity. The Act places both general and specific duties upon all public bodies, such as local authorities, schools and other state funded educational settings.

In order to achieve the award, schools must undertake an audit in line with recommendations from Equality which is then submitted electronically and verified.

The local MP commented: “It was fantastic to be back at Gable Hall. They have had another brilliant year in terms of results and it was great to be able to congratulate them in person, and to meet with students and staff. The student leadership team are a committed and dedicated group of students who are passionate about the school and brimming with ideas so it was a real pleasure to spend some time with them.”

“It was also a privilege to present the Equalities Award. Staff and students have worked hard to create an inclusive, non discriminatory environment that values each and every student for who they are. The award is testament to this and I hope many other schools will follow suit.”

Stephen Metcalfe MP joins the fight against breast cancer

Stephen Metcalfe, local MP for South Basildon and East Thurrock, has joined the fight against breast cancer by taking part in Breast Cancer Campaign’s biggest (and pinkest) fundraiser, wear it pink day.

Over the last 10 years wear it pink has raised a staggering £23 million and on Friday 25 October 2013 people will come together in schools, colleges and businesses throughout the country to raise vital funds for Breast Cancer Campaign’s lifesaving research.

Mr Metcalfe commented: “Every year in the UK around 50,000 women and around 400 men are diagnosed with breast cancer. Sadly 12,000 women and 80 men die from this disease. This is why we need to support Breast Cancer Campaign’s fundraising efforts so they can continue to fund research which will one day lead to a cure. So join me, wear something pink and donate £2, it’s really as simple as that.”

The Breast Cancer Campaign vitally needs the money raised from wear it pink for its researchers to have the best possible chance to find the cure. 

To register for wear it pink and receive your fundraising pack visit or call 0800 107 3104.

Monday, 16 September 2013

Stephen Metcalfe MP pledges support for Small Business Saturday

Stephen Metcalfe MP with Deborah Stewart
from the 
DIY Centre in Corringham
Stephen Metcalfe, local MP for South Basildon and East Thurrock, has today pledged his support to Small Business Saturday.

Small Business Saturday, which will take place on 7th December, is a day to recognise the positive contribution that small businesses make to our economy and our communities, and to encourage people to support their local small businesses on the busiest shopping day of the year.

Whilst American Express originally came up with the concept, Small Business Saturday has taken off and is now widely supported in the UK by many business groups including the Federation of Small Businesses, Forum for Private Business, the Association of Convenience Stores, the British Chamber of Commerce and the Association of Town & City Management.

Many local authorities from across the political spectrum have also given their backing and Mr Metcalfe is seeking to extend this support to Parliament. He recently signed an Early Day Motion (531) calling on members from all parties to take part and to shop in local small businesses on Saturday 7th December.

The local MP has a prolific track record of supporting small and medium sized enterprises, campaigning on issues such as access to finance, prompt payment, and keeping trade local. He commented: “I am delighted to support Small Business Saturday. As well as encouraging communities to shop in their local small businesses on 7th December, the initiative also raises vital awareness of the plight of SMEs and I hope that as a result, people will be supporting their local small businesses in the run up to Christmas and beyond.”

“At the heart of every local community you will find small businesses and if we don’t use them, we will lose them. I would therefore encourage all of my constituents to get involved and support Small Business Saturday!”

For further information, visit and follow @SmallBizSatUk on Twitter.

Stephen Metcalfe MP gives cautious welcome to new £20 a year Dartford Crossing tariff for local residents

Stephen Metcalfe, local MP for South Basildon and East Thurrock, has welcomed today’s announcement that local residents who are already registered for the Dartford Crossing Local Residents Discount Scheme will benefit from further reductions in 2014.

The new scheme, designed to help local people who regularly use the crossing, will provide unlimited crossings for just £20 a year from March 2014. This option will also be open to local residents who privately own two-axle vehicles, including vans.

Around 4,000 local people are expected to benefit from the price cut but it will only be possible to register one vehicle per resident at each address.
The existing scheme - which allows motorists to pay £10 for 50 trips a year and 20p for each crossing thereafter - will continue, and existing users of the scheme will be eligible for the new way to pay.

There are currently more than 24,000 people signed up to the local resident discount scheme. Some 4,000 local residents make more than 100 trips each in a year and 700 of them make more than 400 trips a year; these residents are set to save money with the £20 flat rate.
In a move to cut bureaucracy, the Transport Secretary also announced that motorists registered on the local resident discount scheme will only have to send in their vehicle documentation every 2 years, rather than annually.

Mr Metcalfe has been calling on the Department for Transport to act on this issue for some time, stressing how let down local residents feel at being charged for using the crossing.  He commented: “This is great news for local residents and local businesses. Under this scheme, it will cost just 5p per day to use the crossing helping thousands of small businesses drive down their costs as well as saving local residents their hard earned money.”

“Whilst this is most definitely a step in the right direction, I have said for some time that I want the crossing to be free for local people. I welcome the new scheme but will continue to champion this message and keep working for the best possible deal for the people of Thurrock.” 

Residents can also look forward to a free-flow charging arrangement at the crossing which should be operational by this time next year. This will see barriers removed and people able to pay before they cross, either online, by phone, or at certain service areas. 

Thursday, 12 September 2013

Stephen Metcalfe MP talks crime with local Superintendent

Last week Stephen Metcalfe MP met with Chief Superintendent Luke Collison from Essex Police to discuss crime in the local area of South Basildon and East Thurrock.

As well as addressing local policing issues, Mr Metcalfe and Mr Collison discussed a number of innovative ideas that will help in the fight against crime and which will improve policing in the near future.

Mr Metcalfe commented: “The safety and security of my constituents is at the top of the agenda so it is vital that I stay in close contact with the local police. I was extremely encouraged by the meeting and I know that the local police are working heard to cut crime in South Basildon and East Thurrock. This process is helped by the growing number of officers now on the frontline.”

The local MP also urged constituents to utilise to find out about crime within their local vicinity. New crime maps on the website enable people to check on the safety of their estate, village, or route to work.

Users can make their own personalised crime maps, plotting the precise area for which they want information on crime, anti-social behaviour and outcomes, rather than relying on a standard one mile radius from a given postcode.

Stephen added: “I will continue to work closely with Essex Police to ensure that everything possible is being done to cut crime in the local area and I have every confidence that we will see falling crime statistics in the near future.”

Stephen Metcalfe MP welcomes £2.5million winter investment in local A&E

Stephen Metcalfe, local MP for South Basildon and East Thurrock, has welcomed measures that will see an extra £2,490,00 ploughed into the local A&E department to help with the busy winter period.

Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt recently announced that £250m will be provided to 53 NHS Trusts, including Basildon and Thurrock NHS Foundation, to help them deal with the extra pressures brought about by the cold winter weather.

Within this £250m, Mr Hunt has committed to spending £70m on acute capacity and coverage; £27.5m on local primary care provision; £65m on strengthened community and hospice care; and £57.5m on pathway improvements for long term conditions requiring urgent care.

Mr Metcalfe commented: “I am extremely pleased that the Government are investing in A&E departments this winter. It is vital that local A&E’s can deal with the increased demands of winter and it is very reassuring to know that this Government are planning ahead to ensure the safety and well being of people in South Basildon and East Thurrock and across the country.”

As well as tackling the problem in the short term, Mr Hunt also announced bold measures for reducing pressures in the longer term. As well as making £250m available next year, he has set out a three pillar plan to transform primary and community care. 

The three pillars state that:
·         Patients should have a named clinician responsible for the coordination of their care right across the NHS
·         Information and patient records must be shared across the system
·         Care for older people must be joined up between health and social care, starting with the £3.8billion integration fund.

Mr Metcalfe added: “As well as tackling the short term problems brought about by cold weather, this Government is committed to transforming the NHS in the long term. The Secretary of State has called for a 24/7 service which recognises patients as individuals and looks out for them proactively, starting with the most vulnerable. I fully support this Government in helping the NHS achieve these goals.” 

For further information see:

Stephen Metcalfe MP makes pledge in the fight against dementia

Stephen Metcalfe, local MP for South Basildon and East Thurrock, has recently pledged to take action to support the 800,000 people living with dementia across the UK.

Mr Metcalfe joined 200 other MPs and representatives from Alzheimer’s Society in Portcullis House, Westminster to provide a handwritten statement of the action they will take to support people with dementia and their carers.

The local MP pledged to work with Alzheimer’s Society to improve support for people with dementia. He commented:  “One in three people over 65 will develop dementia. This is a frightening statistic which highlights just how many people there are in the UK suffering from this health problem. We must do more to ensure that dementia sufferers have access to the help and support that they need and I look forward to working with the Alzheimer’s Society to ensure that this happens.”

Alzheimer’s Society campaigners were in Westminster to drum up political support for their trailblazing Dementia Friends initiative that launched in February this year. Dementia Friends aims to help people understand what it might be like to live with dementia and turn that understanding into action. Alzheimer’s Society is aiming to have one million Dementia Friends by 2015, to help make England more dementia-friendly and improve the lives of the 650,000 people currently living with the condition.

During the afternoon, 30 MPs from across England took part in a Dementia Friends session. Jeremy Hughes, Chief Executive at Alzheimer’s Society said:  “Most people don’t know enough about dementia. Dementia Friends is the perfect opportunity to be able to invite everyone to improve their knowledge. We are pleased to have been able to engage over 130 MPs in one day. They have a huge influence in their local communities and we hope they will use this opportunity to take action and improve lives.” 

If you are interested in becoming a Dementia Friend or helping create more communities that are dementia friendly, go to to find your nearest information session or to volunteer as a Dementia Friends Champion.

Wednesday, 11 September 2013

Stephen Metcalfe MP supports historic Orsett Show

Stephen Metcalfe, local MP for South Basildon and East Thurrock, joined his constituents last weekend for the 107th Orsett Show.

The historic event brings together aspects of Thurrock’s town and country communities in one of the oldest one-day country shows in England. As well as marquees featuring local organisations and trade stands, the day provided fun for all of the family. Activities included a traditional bakery show, a circus skills workshop, a dog show, bird of prey display, and a car and steam engine showcase.

As well as talking to local residents, the MP made time to visit the stands of community organisations including the Essex Fire Museum, the Federation of Small Businesses, and the schools creativity tent which provided schools including St Clere’s with an opportunity to showcase their creative talent to a new audience.

Mr Metcalfe commented: “The Orsett Show is always a fantastic occasion and this was no exception. It was great to see the community come together to celebrate all things Thurrock and the exciting programme of events meant that there was something for everyone to enjoy.”

“The idea that this great Thurrock tradition could be under threat if Option C for an additional Lower Thames Crossing were chosen is inconceivable. The effect Option C would have on the Orsett Show is just another reason I am wholeheartedly opposing the new crossing”

“I have made clear to the Secretary of State for Transport that Option C has by far the greatest environmental impact and this is another example of the devastating impact it would have on Thurrock.” 

Finally, Stephen Said: “I would like to thank all those who worked so hard to organise the show and I look forward to seeing what next year’s event has in store as well as seeing the Show prosper for many years to come.”

Monday, 9 September 2013

Stephen Metcalfe MP welcomes new legal aid deal

Stephen Metcalfe, local MP for South Basildon and East Thurrock, rose on the floor of the House of Commons last week to welcome the sensible deal on legal aid announced by Secretary of State for Justice, Chris Grayling MP.

In a statement, the Secretary of State outlined revised proposals for legal aid reform which will mean that all those accused of a crime receive high quality legal representation, that defendants are free to choose their lawyer, and that all those who currently provide criminal legal aid services can continue to do so, provided they meet minimum quality standards.

Amongst other changes, a new residency test will be introduced to prevent most people who have only just arrived in the UK from accessing civil legal aid until a year after they arrive; there will be a limit on criminal legal aid for prisoners so that it is not available unnecessarily; finally there the Secretary of State set out new rules that will mean that, in most cases, the wealthiest Crown court defendants will have to fund their own legal costs.

Mr Metcalfe rose to the floor to welcome the new proposals saying that they will deliver fair access to justice to the people of South Basildon and East Thurrock, while also making necessary savings.

He later commented: “The Government have had to make some difficult decisions across the board to repair the mess left by the previous Labour administration. Reforming legal aid has inevitably had to form part of this process but I am extremely pleased that the Department have been able to make much needed savings without losing the integrity of a vital system.”

“This sensible compromise means that my constituents will have access to high quality legal aid whilst also ensuring that we have a system that helps those in greatest need and is sustainable for the future.”

Stephen Metcalfe MP enters the carnival spirit

Stephen with chairman George Coleman-Wood
Stephen Metcalfe, local MP for South Basildon and East Thurrock, entered the carnival spirit this weekend by participating in the Basildon and Pitsea carnival. The local MP also paid tribute to carnival Chairman, George Coleman-Wood who has been organising the event for over 5 decades.

The carnival, which consists of a parade and fete, provided a day of entertainment for local residents whilst also fundraising for charities and organisations in the local community.

Mr Metcalfe joined local performers, organisations, and service providers, making his way from Wickhay to Northlands Park via Basildon town centre in his taxi – more commonly known as Betsy. At Northlands Park the fun and festivities continued with the fete.

Mr Metcalfe commented: “The Basildon and Pitsea Carnival is a fantastic community event. I have participated on numerous occasions and it gets better and better! I would like to thank all those who participated and all those who so generously give their time to make the event happen.”

“I would particularly like to extend my thanks and gratitude to the Chairman of the Carnival Association, Mr George Coleman-Wood. George has been organising the event for an incredible 53 years, raising thousands of pounds for local charities in the process. His service to the local community is something we should all be grateful for and I hope it inspires others to get involved with this event and to volunteer in the local area.”
Photo by Gary Crouch

Thursday, 5 September 2013

Stephen Metcalfe MP champions Right to Buy

Stephen Metcalfe, local MP for South Basildon and East Thurrock, is championing the Government’s Right to Buy scheme after hearing more about the home ownership scheme last week.

Since the 1980s the Right to Buy has helped millions of people living in council housing achieve their aspiration becoming homeowners. It gave something back to families who worked hard, paid their rent and played by the rules. It allowed them to do up their home, change their front door, improve their garden without getting permission from the council.

Conservatives in Government want to build an aspiration nation by backing people who want to get on in life. This is why they have dramatically increased the discount rates available to council tenants who want to own the roof over their head. Tenants will now benefit from a discount of up to £75,000 with any additional homes brought under the scheme leading directly to the provision of new affordable homes for rent.

This has a real impact for people living in South Basildon and East Thurrock with the rise in the discount cap meaning that more council tenants may be able to apply to buy their own home.

The local MP commented: “I would encourage all constituents who may qualify to take advantages of these new discounts. If owning your council house is something that you have dreamed of, then the reinvigorated Right to Buy could help you.” 

“If you have any questions, do not hesitate in getting in touch with your local Council who have a legal responsibility to inform tenants about the increased discounts. Alternatively, visit for further information and to see if your are eligible.”

Wednesday, 4 September 2013

MP agrees with Council leader that “20’s Plenty” for Dry Street

Stephen Metcalfe, Member of Parliament for South Basildon and East Thurrock has agreed that ‘20’s Plenty’ for Dry Street and has agreed with Tony Ball, Basildon Borough Council Leader to ask residents for their views on this campaign.

Stephen, who has been in regular discussions with both Essex County Council and Basildon Borough Council since the tragic death of Justin Bowman in May this year, said: “a ‘20’s Plenty’ zone could be established by the Council relatively simply and would encourage motorists to amend their driving and would make them aware of the potential risks in Dry Street.”

Stephen continued: “Although I am still in discussions with Essex County Council Cabinet Member for Highways, Ccllr Rodney Bass, about introducing a traffic Order to legally limit the speed on this stretch of road to 30mph, I think a 20’s Plenty campaign could achieve the desired result in the interim.”

“I am pleased that Basildon Borough Council and I have been able to work together constructively on this issue and I would like to thank Cllr Tony Ball for his efforts. I hope we will now be asking residents in Dry Street for their views before any final decisions are taken.” 

Stephen finished: “20’s Plenty zones have worked elsewhere in the country so I don’t see why they can’t work in Dry Street. People locally recognise that this length of road is hazardous and anything we can do to remind them of that and get them to slow down should be welcomed.

Stephen Metcalfe MP stresses the local importance of defence exports to Secretary of State

Stephen Metcalfe MP rose to the floor of the House of Commons yesterday to stress the local importance of defence exports to South Basildon and East Thurrock.

In the exchange, Mr Metcalfe first asked the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Defence, Philip Dunne, what steps he is taking to increase defence exports. The Minister responded saying that the Government are working tirelessly to support economic growth to which responsible defence exports make an important contribution. He also stated that Ministers across departments are engaged in supporting allies in acquiring top-quality British military equipment.

The local MP then stressed the importance of defence exports to South Basildon and East Thurrock which has a number of defence and aerospace contractors – many of which Mr Metcalfe has visited. He then asked the Minister to join him in welcoming the 62% growth achieved last year in defence exports.

As well as welcoming the figure, which is up to £8.8 billion, the Minister stressed the cross-governmental support for increasing exports and highlighted the forthcoming defence and security exhibition soon to take place at the ExCel Centre which brings buyers from all over the world to see the best of British technology. 

Mr Metcalfe later commented:  “We have a fantastic heritage in this industry in South Basildon and Thurrock. Companies such as Selex ES are vital to the local and national economy and I will do all I can to support further growth in defence exports in 2013.” 

Monday, 2 September 2013

Stephen Metcalfe MP joins The Shadyfish Xperiance for community fun day

Stephen Metcalfe, local MP for South Basildon and East Thurrock, joined the Shadyfish Xperiance (TSX) for their ‘Making a Connection’ community fun day last week at Wat Tyler Park, Pitsea.

Founded in 2009 by Ricky McCarthy and Linda Russ, TSX seeks to reduce the social isolation caused by issues such as substance abuse, mental health problems and crime. They also extend their work to carers, single parents, the lonely and the disabled and anyone else who would like to be included in a non-judgemental and caring community. Using art as the medium, TSX exist to build stronger communities, forge relationships, and breakdown social barriers.

The annual summer event brings together local charities and organisations in a similar field so that they connect and offer advice and information to the visiting public. As well as a picnic tent and bouncy castles, local organisations including the South Essex Partnership Trust, Mosaic, Essex Young People’s Drug and Alcohol Service, and Christians Against Poverty Debt Advisory Service. Community radio station Gateway FM were also on hand to report on the day’s events.

Mr Metcalfe, who has supported TSX on a number of occasions, commented: “I was delighted to support this fantastic charity at their community fun day. TSX have done a brilliant job of bringing together vital local services. It not only makes the public more aware of the support that is available, but it allows organisations to connect and support one another.”

“I would like to thank TSX for organising this event and hope that those who attended found it as informative and enjoyable as I did.” 

TSX run three free community drop-in art sessions that have proved extremely popular with over 60 people attending on a regular basis. If you would like to find out more or think you might like to attend a group, please visit