Monday, 22 December 2014

Stephen Metcalfe MP bringing some Christmas cheer to children at Basildon Hospital

Stephen Metcalfe, local MP for South Basildon and East Thurrock, recently joined Max Whitlock, silver medal winner in the all-around competition at the 2014 World Artistic Gymnastics Championships and other medal Hopefuls from South Essex Gymnastics Club; Reiss, Anthony & Brinn together with their coach, Scott Hann and Club Chairman, Roy Short, to spend the morning giving out Christmas presents to children in Basildon and Thurrock University Hospital.

For the third time in as many years, Stephen Metcalfe launched a Christmas toy appeal which he hoped would bring a little Christmas cheer to the children that would spend time in hospital over Christmas.

Stephen Metcalfe said: “I was overwhelmed by the response to the appeal. In only a few weeks, we received hundreds of pounds in donations from individual well-wishers including Conservative Party Members, Community Service clubs such as the Rotary Club and businesses across Basildon and Thurrock. I was also delighted that South Essex Gymnastics Club continue  to be involved and help with this, now annual event. I would like to thank everyone for their generosity and for getting on board with this appeal.”

He continued: “No one would want their child to be in hospital at anytime, but over the Christmas period it can be especially difficult. I hope that this small gesture will bring a little Christmas cheer to the patients and their Carers.”

“I would again like to thank all those who have generously donated gifts and it was my privilege to give them out and to spend time with the children and their parents today.”

Thursday, 18 December 2014

Local MP slams Labour on issue of immigration during Prime Minister’s Questions

Stephen Metcalfe, local Member of Parliament for South Basildon and East Thurrock yesterday raised the issue of immigration during Prime Minister’s Questions in Parliament.

During the last PMQs of the year, Stephen Metcalfe rose on the floor of the House of Commons and said: “Does my right hon. Friend agree that it is NOT “unhelpful” to discuss the concerns of voters in Basildon and Thurrock about border controls and immigration? And anyone who thinks that is, is out of touch, and perhaps they should be moved on.”

Stephen’s comments in Parliament follow the leaking of a document passed around amongst Labour Party members advising them to ‘move on’ from discussions around the issue of immigration when speaking to members of the public.

The Prime Minister David Cameron agreed with Stephen Metcalfe and said: “My hon. Friend is right. Our job as elected politicians is to respond to people’s concerns and to address them.”

Stephen Metcalfe later commented: “It is absolutely unforgivable that Labour are playing down the importance of having a sensible discussion on the subject of immigration and border control.”

“At the very moment that we as Members of Parliament should be voicing the British people’s concerns, these leaked documents show that Labour are hoping to ignore the issue entirely.”

“My Conservative colleagues and I remain dedicated to tackling these issues head-on.”

“I will certainly not be pulling any punches when it comes to voicing the opinions of the people of Basildon and Thurrock.”

Wednesday, 17 December 2014

Stephen Metcalfe speaks up for vulnerable Syrian refugees in Parliament

Last week, local MP Stephen Metcalfe spoke in Parliament on the issue of vulnerable Syrian refugees on the border of Syria and Turkey.

Following the ongoing Syrian conflict, many innocent Syrians have found themselves displaced and fleeing war in their home country and have sought refuge on the border of neighbouring Turkey.

Stephen Metcalfe has taken a keen interest in this issue, having visited a refugee camp on the Syria-Turkey border earlier this year.

Addressing the Home Office Minister James Brokenshire, Stephen said: “Having visited a refugee camp on the Syria-Turkey border earlier this year, I am all too aware of the conflict’s impact, especially on children. Will my hon. Friend join me in thanking the Turkish Government for all they are doing to provide support? Does he agree that the best way to resolve the problem is to find a way to end the war, however difficult that may be? Will he remain committed to providing whatever support is needed both at home and abroad?”

Minister of State James Brokenshire replied: “My hon. Friend has experience of travelling to see the very direct impact of the situation on the ground, and I commend him and other Members from across the House for their work and the real focus and attention that they have given to this very serious issue. He is right to identify Turkey’s contribution. The Prime Minister is in Turkey at the moment, and it is important to work with our international partners to seek to resolve this appalling crisis.”

Stephen Metcalfe later commented: “I have seen first-hand the damage that has been caused by this ongoing conflict on innocent families and children across these troubled regions.”

“I believe it was worth taking the time in Parliament to raise the fact that the best solution to this ongoing suffering is to see the conflict brought to an end.”

“I am glad to see that the British Government is doing everything it can to work towards the kind of solution we all want to see”.

Friday, 12 December 2014

Stephen Metcalfe MP delivers pancreatic cancer drug access petition to Downing Street

Stephen Metcalfe, Member of Parliament for South Basildon and East Thurrock, today delivered a petition to 10 Downing Street, alongside Pancreatic Cancer UK, and patients and families who have been affected by the disease.

The petition, with 2,165 signatures, calls on the Government and NHS decision-makers to recognise that pancreatic cancer has the worst survival outcomes of any of the 21 most common cancers; that there are very few treatment options available to patients; and to make sure the chemotherapy drug Abraxane is not removed from the Cancer Drugs Fund list when the CDF panel meets next Monday, 15th December.

The Cancer Drugs Fund was initially designed to give patients in England access to effective treatments deemed too expensive for hospitals to fund. But, due to the number of drugs that have been added since 2010, the fund will now introduce price restrictions for the first time. 42 drugs are being reassessed and may ultimately be removed. Worryingly, Abraxane is one of those drugs being reconsidered – and its future will be determined at a meeting of the CDF on 15th December 2014.

Pancreatic cancer has the lowest survival rate of all of the 21 most common cancers in the UK with fewer than 4% of people diagnosed surviving five years or more. This figure has hardly changed in 40 years. It is predicted that by 2030 pancreatic cancer will overtake breast cancer as the 4th most common cancer killer.

Abraxane when combined with standard chemotherapy treatment has been shown in trials to extend eligible patients’ life by an average of just over two months, although in some cases significantly more. Accordingly, it has been hailed as the biggest advance in almost 20 years in the fight against pancreatic cancer. Yet it has not been approved by the NHS watchdog NICE, depriving many patients from its potential life-extending benefits. The final decision is expected in the New Year although disappointingly a preliminary ‘no’ has already been announced.

The only hope for patients wanting to access Abraxane is for the drug to remain on the Government’s Cancer Drugs Fund – something which Pancreatic Cancer UK fought for back in February this year with the launch of its “Two More Months” campaign

Speaking after handing in the petition Stephen said; “I was pleased to be able to offer my support for pancreatic cancer patients by joining with current patients and those who have lost family members to the disease to hand in this petition to 10 Downing Street.

“Pancreatic cancer is a terrible disease that takes far too may lives and for which there are currently very few treatment options available. I urge the Cancer Drugs Fund Committee to heed what the petitioners are calling for and to keep Abraxane on the CDF list of approved drugs so that more patients can access life-extending treatment.”

Alex Ford, Chief Executive of Pancreatic Cancer UK, comments; “I would like to thank Stephen for his support today. As a charity which offers a specialist support service, we take many calls from distressed families following the loss of a loved one – and all too often they tell us that it all happened so quickly and that any amount of extra time, however small, would have made a huge difference.  This might be time that would have enabled them to complete a degree, walk down the aisle or to see another Christmas with their friends and family.”

“We hope that our petition will force key decision makers to fully consider the impact of removing Abraxane® from the Cancer Drugs Fund. Not in terms of statistics and cost efficiencies but in terms of time; something none of us can put a price on.”

Thursday, 11 December 2014

Stephen Metcalfe MP supports new Care2Save shopping website to benefit hospices and charities in Basildon and Thurrock
Stephen with Donna Air at the special event
This week, local MP Stephen Metcalfe has showed his support at a Westminster event for, the newly-launched shopping site that will help raise funds for charities across South Basildon and East Thurrock when people shop online.
Online spending over Christmas is predicted to reach an all-time high of £13bn. If just 5 per cent of purchases made are through, £19.5m could be raised for good causes this festive season.

At the event, Stephen learned how provides a new income stream for hospices and charities across the UK. Donna Air – actress, designer, and supporter of Care2Save – was also at the event, having recently revealed that her grandfather is suffering from dementia and is being cared for in a hospice.

Care2Save is unique in the UK, as it is the only charity owned and run shopping website that gives 100% of the money that it makes through commission directly to the charity sector.

Stephen with Wendy Field (left), Hospice Matron and
Siobhan Horton (right), Hospice clinical director
The site offers over 12 million products from over 2,000 UK-based high street retailers, making it a one-stop shop for Christmas shopping whilst giving commission from all purchases to charity – without costing the customer a penny. 80 per cent of the commission generated through each purchase goes to a registered charity of the shopper’s choice, and the remaining 20 per cent goes to the Care2Save Charitable Trust, which supports hospice and palliative care in the UK and globally.

This enables people to support their chosen charity this Christmas and each time they shop in the future. It also provides much-needed funds for the hospice sector: a service which most families will need at some point.
Stephen Metcalfe commented: “I am so pleased to be supporting such a great initiative to bring more vital funding to these important charities and organisations.”
“There are more than 220 hospices in the UK, which collectively care for around 360,000 people each year. In South Basildon and East Thurrock we are lucky enough to have the brilliant St Luke’s hospice and I want to do all that I can to support them.”
“The website makes it so easy for us to raise funds for our local hospices and I encourage all local residents to visit the website this Christmas.”

Andrea Fragata Ladeira, CEO, Care2Save: “Hospice care will touch all of our lives at one point or another; whether for ourselves or those close to us. Together through Care2Save we have the opportunity to transform the hospice sector and to raise significant sums for other charities in the process. The support of MPs is vital, and we sincerely hope that the MPs who kindly joined us today and as many people as possible will now join us in making their shopping website of choice for Christmas and beyond.”
Local MP speaks up for Basildon and Thurrock youth employment in Parliament

This week, local MP Stephen Metcalfe has spoken in Parliament about the recent progress his constituency has witnessed in employment rates amongst young people.

Addressing the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, Stephen Metcalfe rose on the floor of the House of Commons and said: “Youth unemployment in my constituency of South Basildon and East Thurrock is down by 42%. Does my right hon. Friend agree that this jobs revolution would not have happened if we had pursued the policies from across the channel, which were supported by the Leader of the Opposition?”

Labour’s Ed Miliband notoriously spoke in support of the current French President’s economic plans; something which Stephen Metcalfe was keen to highlight in Parliament.

The Secretary of State for Work and Pensions Iain Duncan Smith agreed with Stephen and said: “It is well worth reminding ourselves that when the present French President was elected, the Leader of the Opposition extolled his virtues and his plan for France. Right now, France’s unemployment rate is more than 75% higher than the UK’s and it has been rising faster, and its youth unemployment rate is 50% higher than the UK’s. If that is the prospect for the UK, I am sure I know what the result will be at the next election.”

Stephen Metcalfe later commented: “It is worth reminding ourselves of the level of economic incompetence that still exists amongst Labour ranks.”

“I am proud of the progress we have made in our local area with youth employment. After the dark economic years under Labour, the future for young people across Basildon and Thurrock is becoming brighter and brighter.”

“We cannot allow Labour to put our economic progress at risk.”

Wednesday, 10 December 2014

Stephen Metcalfe MP speaks up for Dartford Crossing residents’ discount

Local MP for South Basildon and East Thurrock Stephen Metcalfe has recently  risen to the floor of the House of Commons to highlight the experiences of his local constituents in accessing the residents’ discount for the Dartford Crossing.

Addressing the Minister of State, Stephen asked: “Following the welcome introduction of free flow tolling and the Dart charge, a number of my constituents have experienced problems accessing the residents’ discount and transferring from the old system to the new. Will my right hon. Friend update the House on whether these are isolated incidents or whether there is a systemic problem?”

The Minister of State Mr Hayes replied by first acknowledging how Stephen is right to highlight the interests of his constituents and that he “always does so forcefully”.

The Minister then went on to commit to the opening of a “special line for my hon. Friend so he can feed into the system any concerns his constituents have. It will be a conduit by which he can articulate their needs and worries so that we can get this absolutely right.”

Stephen Metcalfe later commented: “Until the crossing is free, as I would like, the residents discount is an important feature I was pleased to have been able to bring the needs of my constituents to the attention of the Government on this matter.”

“It is only right that local residents get a fair treatment in relation to the Dartford Crossing, and I am pleased to see that their concerns will be addressed by the Government. With this new measure, the voice of local residents will carry even more weight!”

“I am keen to represent the views and concerns of my constituents on this matter, so I will be following developments closely. As always, I encourage people to get in touch with me through the usual means with their experiences and opinions on this important issue.”

Local MP hails success of Forget Never Concert

Performers from across Europe gathered in Basildon on Saturday to perform a unique one off concert as a finale to this year’s local commemorations of the centenary of the start of World War One.

The ‘Forget Never’ Project, spearheaded by local MP Stephen Metcalfe has had huge success at putting Basildon and Thurrock on the map during the nation’s remembrance events. The concert, ‘The Sons of Three Nations’, involved both musical and theatrical contributions and was a fitting way to an end such a significant year.

Fricklesome Amsel, a celebrated folk band from Heilgenhaus in Germany, performed alongside members of Basildon Choral Society and the choir of Pitsea Junior School. Local script writer Dawn Knox also contributed a script, which was performed by actors from Essex-based Theatre Company DOT Productions.

Stephen Metcalfe, speaking at the event, commented: “This concert is yet another resounding success by the team behind the Forget Never project. The whole production was incredibly poignant to watch and the team have done a brilliant job at bringing the message of remembrance home to Basildon and Thurrock.”

“As I have said before, I feel so privileged to have been a part of such a great local initiative and I feel incredibly proud every time we all get together and see our efforts pay off. Thank you again to everyone involved and well done to our great performers!”
Stephen Metcalfe MP rallies local residents for ‘Small Business Saturday’

This weekend, Local MP for South Basildon and East Thurrock Stephen Metcalfe, has been busy drumming up support for the ‘Small Business Saturday’ campaign in the local area.

‘Small Business Saturday’ is a grassroots, UK-wide campaign, aimed at highlighting the successes of local businesses. Taking place on the first shopping Saturday of December each year, the campaign promotes the use of small businesses in local communities across the country.

Stephen Metcalfe commented: “I was keen to support the Small Business Saturday campaign in the local area this weekend. It is so important that we recognise the vital role that small businesses play in contributing to local communities across Basildon and Thurrock.”

On the Small Business Saturday trail, Stephen was keen to visit a number of the local businesses in the area. Amongst other things Stephen had the chance to sample the sausage rolls on offer at the well-loved King Street Bakery in Stanford le Hope as well as popping in and chatting to the team at ‘Onsite Tools’, a successful tool retailer that has been going strong since 1987. Stephen then visited a number of small business in Pitsea including Gymophobics.

Stephen Metcalfe commented: “Overall, it is local businesses like this that serve as the backbone to the British economy, providing jobs, boosting growth, and serving their communities. We should all be doing what we can to support them!”

Stephen also took the opportunity on Saturday to reiterate his opposition to the Car parking charges on the King Street Car Park.

Speaking at the car park, Stephen remarked: “Today has served as a real reminder as to why we should oppose any decision that might hinder the support of our great local businesses. We should be encouraging local residents to use their high street, not be making it more difficult!”

Locals to Basildon and Thurrock can find out more about the Small Business Saturday campaign by visiting the campaign’s national website at:

Monday, 8 December 2014

Stephen Metcalfe MP raises constituents’ concerns of level crossings to Secretary of State

Local MP for South Basildon and East Thurrock Stephen Metcalfe rose on the floor of the House of Commons yesterday to highlights his and his constituent’s concerns over increased railway usage and the effect this has on level crossings.

Addressing the Secretary of State for Transport, Stephen said: “As a result of increased rail use, level crossings in my constituency, particularly at East Tilbury, are spending longer closed. Not only does that cause severe delays to traffic and commuters, it puts lives at risk. Will my right hon. Friend meet me and put pressure on the Treasury to make more money available to deal with level crossings?”

In reply, The Secretary of State for Transport Patrick Mcloughlin said: “A lot of work is currently being done with Network Rail.... I will report back to my hon. Friend and ask for a direct report on this matter.”

Stephen Metcalfe later commented: “I believe it is incredibly important to highlight mine and my constituents concerns on this matter. Many local residents have been in contact regarding this issue and I have been keen to ensure that their experiences are being taken seriously by the Government.”

“I am pleased that the Secretary of State will now look into this matter for me. I will of course be monitoring developments closely and be reporting back in due course.

Thursday, 4 December 2014

Stephen Metcalfe MP: attends Tree of Life Service for St Luke’s Hospice

Last weekend, local MP for South Basildon and East Thurrock Stephen Metcalfe attended and helped lead St Luke’s annual Tree of Life Service in Basildon.

The service, now in its 18th year, forms part of Help the Hospice’s ‘Light Up A Life’ campaign which aims to provide members of the public with an opportunity to dedicate a light in memory of a loved one.

For many hospices, including St Luke’s, the Light Up A Life service is one the best loved and most meaningful events in the calendar.

Speaking at the service, Stephen Metcalfe encouraged people to recognise the important work that St Luke’s Hospice carries out for those in need.

Stephen Metcalfe commented: “I was so pleased to have the chance to take part in such a moving and important event. It provided a real opportunity for us to reflect at this time of year on those who are no longer with us and also remind us of the important and inspiring role St Luke’s plays in the local area.”

“I would like to give my warmest thanks to all those who helped make the service possible.”

Stephen has been encouraging his constituents to find out more about the work that St Luke’s Hospice do. Those who are interested can visit the St Luke’s website at: 
Stephen Metcalfe MP: seeks reassurances from Government over NHS privatization

This week, local MP for South Basildon and East Thurrock Stephen Metcalfe has spoken in Parliament to seek reassurances over the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership and its potential impact on the NHS.

The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (or TTIP) is a trade agreement currently in negotiation between EU nations and American partners designed to reduce the barriers and red-tape that are known to make it difficult for businesses to invest in UK infrastructure. It will also help to ensure that businesses have the right to be treated fairly in their dealings with Governments.

Although this agreement has the potential to deliver £10 billion to the UK economy each year, critics have accused the Government of allowing TTIP to open up the NHS to privatization. 

Stephen Metcalfe, seeking reassurances on the subject, rose to the floor of the House of Commons, and asked the Minister for Europe to confirm that “signing up to the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership is not the start of privatisation of the NHS?”

The Minister David Lidington replied, “I can absolutely confirm that to my hon. Friend. In early October, both the United States and EU chief negotiators made it clear in public statements that there would be no provisions in the trade agreement that would limit the ability of Governments to regulate health provision or other public services.”

Stephen Metcalfe later commented: “I believe it was worth taking the time to seek reassurances from the Government on this issue so that we can begin to dispel some myths.”

“I have said it before and I’ll say it again, the Conservatives are absolutely committed to the founding principles of the NHS - that care is free at the point of use based on need, not on the ability to pay. There is nothing in the TTIP that would change the fact that it is up to the UK Government to decide how public services are run and it is up Parliament to vote on how the NHS conducts its work.” 

“I know that my constituents will be pleased to hear the reassurances by the Minister that the fundamental principles of the NHS are not in threat. The truth, is that if they were in threat, then I nor my Conservative colleagues would support the proposed partnership.”
Stephen Metcalfe MP welcomes Chancellor’s Autumn Statement 

Local MP Stephen Metcalfe has today welcomed the Chancellor’s Autumn Statement and dubbed it as “great news for hardworking people”. 

Stephen Metcalfe commented: “Despite Labour’s criticism, we just need to remind ourselves of three simple facts. Since the Conservatives have been in Government, the deficit is HALVED, the economy is GROWING, and unemployment is dramatically FALLING!” 

“This has all been achieved against the backdrop of the toxic economic inheritance left to us by the previous Labour Government!” 

The Chancellor George Osborne in his annual Autumn Statement announced a whole range of new measures designed to ensure Britain’s economic successes are continued in the coming months. These measures included an overhaul of stamp duty so that 98% of stamp duty payers pay less tax when buying their home. 

Further measures included the abolishment of employers’ jobs tax on apprenticeships to give more young people the chance to gain the crucial skills they need. The Personal Allowance will also be raised. And savers will be supported by letting husbands and wives inherit their partner’s ISA with its tax-free status. 

Stephen Metcalfe commented: “As Conservatives, we understand that the two cornerstones of the British economy are businesses, and hard-working people.” 

“By supporting the backbone of our economy, this Autumn Statement helps ensure that the British economic recovery is safeguarded for the future.” 

“We now have record levels of employment and the fastest growing economy in the developed world, however our recovery is not completely secured and the biggest threat to all of this progress remains unchanged: Ed Miliband and the Labour Party!”.

Wednesday, 3 December 2014

Free tickets available for Never Forget Concert to Commemorate WWI this Saturday 

Performers from across Europe are gathering in Basildon on Saturday to perform a unique one off concert as this year’s final event to commemorate the start of the Great War 100 years ago. 

Stephen with some of the Forget Never team
The Forget Never, Jamais Oublier, Vergessen Niemals Concert will take place in front of an invited audience at St. Martin’s Church in Basildon on Saturday 6th December at 7pm. 

The Concert entitled “The Sons of Three Nations” will involve both musical and theatrical contributions and will be a fitting way to recognise the end of this historic year. 

Fricklesome Amsel, a celebrated folk band from Heiligenhaus will be performing, alongside members of Basildon Choral Society and the choir of Pitsea Junior School. 

In addition, the theatrical contribution has been written by local script writer Dawn Knox and will be performed by actors from DOT Productions. 

A huge amount of work has been put into the year’s commemorations and the concert will be a fantastic finale to the year’s programme. Demand for tickets has been high, but a limited number have been keep back and are being made available for the public. 

Anyone wishing to apply for FREE tickets should contact Lisa Smith, the Forget Never Project Manager either by email: or by calling: 07970 332097

Monday, 1 December 2014

Stephen Metcalfe MP kicks of the Christmas Festivities across Basildon and Thurrock

Last weekend, Local MP Stephen Metcalfe attended a variety of festive community events in the local area to kick off the festive season. Stephen took part in a whole range of activities from hanging street decorations in Stanford-le-Hope to visiting Santa at Wat Tyler Country Park.

Firstly Stephen joined Cllr Shane Hebb in Stanford-le-Hope, town centre to thank local residents and volunteers for their fund-raising efforts and to help them put up decorations they had purchased.

Stephen also discussed ongoing concerns around the introduction of parking restrictions at the Sand Pits Car Park in Kings Street and pledged to work to scrap the charges. 

Shane and Stephen then visited the 2nd Stanford Scout Group Christmas Bazaar held at Allott Hall. Stephen commented: “The Stanford Scout Group play such an important role in our local community that I was pleased to support them. This year they put on a brilliant bazaar and I was pleased to see the enthusiastic response they got from local residents”.

Equally well attended was St Peter and St Paul’s Christmas Coffee Morning in Horndon-on-the-Hill, aiming to raise funds to help repair the church Spire. Stephen congratulated them on the work they have done and the money they have already raised. Stephen said: “It is so important that we preserve and maintain this iconic landmark and I wish the church well with their fund raising activities.” 

From there it was off to see Santa at the Wat Tyler Christmas Market. Stephen commented: “Every year, Wat Tyler Country Park is the venue for on a great Christmas Market and this year was no exception. Over the two days, visitors were able to meet a number of local groups, try and buy local produce and of course most importantly visit Santa in his Grotto.”

Finally, having also stopped off and collected for Basildon Foodbank at Tesco in Pitsea and met with the Frost Estate Residents Association committee, Stephen headed to Corringham Town centre to join in the celebrations as the Christmas Lights were turned on.

In front of a huge crowd of excited local residents, the cast of our local Thameside Theatre Panto - Snow White, including TV’s Jeff Brazier, led the countdown to the big Christmas Lights switch on. 

Stephen commented: “It was great to join local residents and local star AJ the Entertainer this evening for the Switch On of the Town’s Christmas lights. Every year the atmosphere is absolutely brilliant and you really get a sense of the community spirit in the town. As always, the organisers have done a fantastic job of bringing the community together in this way.” 

Stephen finished: “It is great to see so many groups and organisations getting into the Christmas spirit and I hope that they and all those they serve have a fantastic Xmas.” 

Stephen Metcalfe launches local referendum on English Votes

In a joint move, Member of Parliament for South Basildon & East Thurrock Stephen Metcalfe, along with the Member of Parliament for Thurrock Jackie Doyle-Price, have launched a local referendum on the issue of English Votes. 

Stephen Metcalfe has become increasingly active on the issue of English Votes over the last few months following the Scottish Referendum. As Scotland is due to receive more devolved powers, Stephen has ramped up the pressure to ensure that English voters will receive an equal treatment. 

Launching the campaign this week, Stephen Metcalfe commented: “Of course we should all be celebrating the fact that our great and historic ties to Scotland were not severed following the Scottish Referendum. But it is only natural that if Scotland are to receive more devolved powers in the coming months, that English Voters are given the same opportunity.” 

“When these powers are given to Scotland, we must make sure that only English MPs get to vote on issues that just relate to England. If Scotland are permitted to vote separately on issues of Tax, Spending and Welfare, then it is only fair that England is given the same right to do so.”

Stephen and Jackie are encouraging local residents to show support for their campaign and sign the online petition at:

Thursday, 27 November 2014

Stephen Metcalfe MP celebrates recognition of local community groups in Lloyds Bank Community Fund 

Local MP Stephen Metcalfe has hailed the success of the 2014 Lloyds Bank Community Fund which has this year recognised and awarded a number of good causes in South Basildon & East Thurrock with vital extra funding. 

The Lloyds Bank Community Fund is designed to help local communities up and down the country by awarding between £500 and £3000 to good causes. 

Voting for the 2014 campaign has now ended, and each local good cause across the country has now discovered the award they will receive following nearly 1.5 million votes being cast across the country. 

The community groups from South Basildon and East Thurrock to receive an award are: 

• RCCG Majesty Connections £500 
• East Thurrock Community Association (E.T.C.A.) £2000 
• Karis May Darling Foundation £3000 
• Orsett Church of England Primary School £500 

Stephen Metcalfe commented: “I am so pleased to hear the great news that these wonderful groups in our local community have been recognised for the incredible work that they do. I am very aware of the important role they play in the lives of Basildon and Thurrock residents and it is wonderful to see them rewarded for their hard work.” 

“The Lloyds Bank Community Fund is a great opportunity for community groups and I would like to commend them for the work they do in supporting these vital groups and organisations. Their initiative is evidence of the positive impact that businesses can have on the public”. 

Graham Lindsay, Director, Responsible Business and Community Affairs, Lloyds Banking Group said “It has been fantastic to see so many members of the public nominating and voting for good causes in the 2014 Lloyds Bank Community Fund. Looking at all the wonderful causes that the Community Fund awards will go towards is truly heartening to see. Helping our communities thrive in this way is crucial to us delivering our ambition to help Britain prosper.” 

Information, including summaries, on all community groups in your area can be found below and at
Stephen Metcalfe MP secures confirmation that Felmores Bail Hostel can be moved if alternative location can be found 

Stephen Metcalfe, Local Member of Parliament for South Basildon & East Thurrock has today met with the Minister for Prisons, Andrew Selous MP to discuss his ongoing concerns around the Felmores Bail Hostel, also known as an Approved Premises (APs).

In an act of tri-partisan cooperation, Stephen also invited local council representatives from both Labour and UKIP to ensure that all involved work together to address residents’ concerns. However it was very disappointing that UKIP choose not to attend leaving some residents unrepresented at the meeting.

At the meeting the Minister reiterated the commitment that Stephen received from the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) 3 years ago, namely that if an alternative site with relevant planning permission could be found then the Ministry would move the Bail Hostel.

The Minister explained the value of Approved Premises (APs), pointing out that it was better to know where serious criminals were when they were released on license from prison, rather than just releasing them in to the community. While at the premises residents can be assessed and are subject to curfews and restricted in where they can go and who they can meet - these controls would be more difficult without APs.

However, he did accept that placing APs in the right location was always a challenge.

The Minister also praised the work that Mr Metcalfe has done on this issue over the years, saying: “Stephen has been completely consistent on this issue and has worked tirelessly on behalf of his constituents, ensuring that the MoJ meet its commitment to move the premises if a suitable alternative with relevant planning permission can be found.”

He went on to encourage all present to look for alternative locations and work together on behalf of those they represent.

Stephen said: “It was a productive meeting and I am grateful to the Minister for confirming the department’s earlier commitment. I now hope that those on the Local Council will work together to identify a suitable site, following which I will make sure the MoJ keeps its promises.”
Stephen Metcalfe MP welcomes positive figures on new businesses 

Local MP Stephen Metcalfe has today welcomed new figures which show that the number of private sector businesses in the East of England has increased by around 79,600 over the last four years.

At the start of 2014, for the first time ever there were over 5 million private sector businesses across the UK. This is a record annual increase of 333,000 businesses, or 7 per cent, since the start of 2013.

There are now over three quarters of a million more private sector businesses than there were in 2010.

Stephen Metcalfe commented: “These figures are further proof that the Conservative long-term economic plan is working for people across Basildon and Thurrock. Overall, there are now 760,000 more private sector businesses in the UK than there were in 2010. This has been an incredible achievement!”

“This Government is helping new businesses to create jobs for hardworking taxpayers, which is providing them with the peace of mind that comes from a steady job and the prospect of a brighter future.”

“I am committed to ensuring that the progress we have made so far is safeguarded for the residents of South Basildon and East Thurrock.”

Wednesday, 26 November 2014

Stephen Metcalfe MP: speaks out against Labour on the NHS

Stephen Metcalfe, Local Member of Parliament for South Basildon & East Thurrock has today accused Labour of wilfully ‘scaremongering’ and ‘misleading’ the public on the NHS. Last Friday, during a debate Stephen attended, Labour claimed success in combatting supposed NHS ‘privatisation’ by voting through a Private Member’s Bill in the Commons. This is despite the fact that Government measures are designed to simply remove layers of bureaucracy, reform existing practices and will help the NHS to save £5.5 billion in this Parliament alone. 

Stephen Metcalfe commented: “I am absolutely committed to the founding principles of the NHS - that care is free at the point of use based on need, not on the ability to pay. The Health and Social Care Act does not change this. It will not privatise the NHS. This Labour Bill therefore is seeking to prevent something that is simply not happening.”

“In truth, only 6 pence in every pound spent by the NHS is spent with private sector providers. And the hypocrisy is, under Labour, private sector provision grew at TWICE the rate than under this Government.” 

Labour’s Andy Burnham remains the only Secretary of State in history to have privatised services run by an ENTIRE hospital. And Labour entered the last election with a manifesto commitment promising to increase private provision of healthcare. 

Stephen Metcalfe continued: “This whole episode has shown that Labour are being politically selective over the bandwagons they choose to jump on.” 

“The Conservatives understand that to support our incredible NHS, we need a growing and thriving economy. The economic disaster that Labour left us with was the biggest threat our NHS has ever seen. By implementing vital reforms and jumpstarting Britain’s economic recovery, the Conservatives have actually safeguarded the future of the NHS. The efficiency savings which have been made have been ploughed back in to the NHS to employ 8,000 more doctors and 5,600 more nurses than in 2010.” 

“My constituents are not that easily fooled and will not be hoodwinked by Labour posturing on this important issue. The NHS is something we should all take pride in and it’s time for Labour to stop playing politics with it."

Monday, 24 November 2014

Stephen Metcalfe MP ramps up the pressure over King Street Car Park

Local MP Stephen Metcalfe has ramped up his opposition to the  introduction of parking charges in the former Council-owned King Street car park in Stanford le Hope. 

King Street car park was sold by the Council to a developer on the understanding that free parking would be maintained. However, recently signs have gone up at the site stating that free parking is only applicable for the first 30 minutes of stay.

Stephen met with local Conservative councillor Shane Hebb this weekend to discuss the issue.  Both Stephen and Shane are jointly campaigning for the developer to stick to the spirit of the original agreement. They have both expressed concerns over the potential impact these charges will have on residents, shops and the local community.

Stephen Metcalfe commented: “This is a real blow for our local businesses and shop keepers, who have been doing everything they can to keep our local high streets alive. It is so important that we do everything we can to support them!”

Stephen added: “Whatever the legality of the agreement might be, it is obvious to me that the Car Park was supposed to be free both before and after any future development.”

“I therefore encourage the Council to actively and rapidly engage with all those concerned to find a solution to this apparently self-inflicted problem, especially as the busy Christmas period draws near.”
Stephen Metcalfe MP congratulates Woolmarket Ladies on another successful Coffee Morning

Last Saturday, Local MP Stephen Metcalfe attended the Woolmarket Ladies Autumn Coffee Morning and congratulated them on their continued success. The Woolmarket Ladies group have played a major role in Horndon’s local community over many years, supporting charities and arranging social events and speakers.

Stephen Metcalfe commented: “I was so pleased to be able to attend the Autumn Coffee Morning this weekend. It was a delight to meet some of the faces behind such a wonderful local organisation and I am so pleased to see they are still going strong.”

“Recently, the Woolmarket Ladies have been doing some really good work around a number of important issues and I am pleased to show my support for them.”

Friday, 21 November 2014

Stephen Metcalfe MP pledges his continued support to NCS to benefit local young people      

Local MP Stephen Metcalfe has today in the House of Commons continued to champion support for the National Citizen Service (NCS). The NCS offers young people the chance to make a positive impact in their local communities while improving their skills during spring, summer and autumn programmes through outdoor activities, a community based residential and voluntary work.

Stephen rose on the floor of the House of Commons to ask Francis Maude, the Minister for the Cabinet Office, how the Department intends to widen participation in and increase the availability of the popular Service across the rest of the UK following its success in the South East of the country.

Stephen welcomed the Minister’s intention to widen the NCS across Wales and Northern Ireland and that discussions are underway to expand the scheme to Scotland as well.

The Minister also praised Stephen’s efforts in support of the programme which has proven very popular locally. He believes that it is a valuable scheme, providing not only opportunities for 16 and 17 year olds to develop their skills, undertake challenges and interact with new groups of people, but also allows for local communities to benefit from the work undertaken. Groups have been involved in care home clean ups, organising music gigs to raise money for hospices and ‘sleep-outs’ to help draw attention to homelessness. Participants will see their CVs, personal statements and UCAS applications enhanced by the NCS.

Any 16-17 year olds looking to find out more about the NCS should visit, call 0845 460 7410, email or find "NCS East" on Facebook and Twitter.

Thursday, 20 November 2014

Stephen Metcalfe MP: echoes Prime Minister’s G20 warnings

Stephen Metcalfe, local Member of Parliament for South Basildon & East Thurrock has shown support for the Prime Minister’s latest comments on the state of the global economy and the current British economic recovery. Attending the G20 meetings this week with other world leaders in Australia, David Cameron emphasised the warning signs in the world economy, but also the record levels of employment and economic growth being seen at home in the UK.

The Prime Minister commented: “As I met with world leaders at the G20 Summit, the problems were plain to see. The Eurozone is on the brink of recession. Emerging market economies are slowing down. And the epidemic of Ebola, conflict in the Middle East and Russia's illegal actions in Ukraine are adding a dangerous backdrop of instability and uncertainty.”

“The British economy by contrast is growing, with record numbers of new businesses and employment up 1.75 million in four years - more than in the rest of the EU put together.”

“But the problems in the global economy pose a real risk to our recovery - and we must protect ourselves.”

“When we faced similar problems before, too many politicians offered easy answers, thinking we could spend, borrow and tax our way to prosperity. They were wrong then - and they are wrong now.”

Stephen Metcalfe has today said: “While I am pleased the UK economy is growing, our recover is by no means certain. The global economy, especially the Eurozone is worryingly unpredictable at the moment, it is therefore imperative for the people of Basildon and Thurrock and the entire country, that the Conservatives be permitted to continue the work they have already done to secure our long term economic plan and build a better future for us all.”
Stephen Metcalfe MP: Conservatives could take 4860 hardworking taxpayers in South Basildon and East Thurrock out of income tax

Local MP Stephen Metcalfe has welcomed new figures showing that Conservative plans for further cuts to income tax would take an estimated 4860 low-earners out of paying income tax altogether in South Basildon & East Thurrock, making hardworking taxpayers more financially secure.

A future Conservative Government has committed to tax cuts for 30 million people by raising the personal allowance to £12,500 and raising the threshold at which people pay the 40p rate of tax to £50,000 by 2020. The personal allowance increase would also take one million low-earners out of paying income tax.

This builds on action the Conservatives have already taken in Government to cut income tax. The personal allowance has already risen to £10,000 since 2010, meaning the typical taxpayer is paying £705 less in income tax, and over three million have been taken out of income tax altogether. This will rise again to £10,500 from next April.

Stephen Metcalfe commented: “As Conservatives we believe strongly that the best way to make families more secure is to let people keep more of what they’ve worked hard to earn, and that it’s morally wrong for politicians to go around spending hardworking taxpayer’s money like it grows on trees.

That’s why in Government we’ve been cutting income tax at the same time as reducing the deficit. This is great news for families across Basildon and Thurrock, bringing further financial security.

The Conservative’s plans would take a million people out of paying income tax, and mean no one working 30 hours a week on the minimum wage would pay any income tax.”
Stephen Metcalfe MP welcomes flexible street lighting over Christmas period

Stephen Metcalfe, local Member of Parliament for South Basildon & East Thurrock has today welcomed Essex County Council decision to keep all street lights switched on in the early hours of Christmas Day and New Year’s Day to enable the public to enjoy festive events including Midnight Mass and New Year’s Eve parties.

Essex County Council’s controversial part night lighting (PNL) programme is designed to both save money and reduce energy consumption and has resulted in Council-owned street lights that don’t meet the exception criteria have being turned off between midnight and 5am.

Stephen Metcalfe commented: “I am pleased that the County Council have listened to my and the public’s calls for the street lights to be left on  during the festive season and thank them for the flexibility they have shown.”

Stephen continued: “I still have concerns about PNL and I would be interested to hear of people’s experiences on this matter now that it has been in place for some months as the safety and wellbeing of local residents must always be paramount. I want to do everything I can to accurately represent the views of my residents to the County Council.”

“I look forward to working with Essex County Council in seeking reassurances that the needs of the local community will always be kept in mind and would encourage ECC to work with Basildon Borough Council to explore all options for alternative to PNL.”

Wednesday, 19 November 2014

Stephen Metcalfe MP: supporting campaign for Essex Air Ambulance new landing site

Stephen Metcalfe, local Member of Parliament for South Basildon & East Thurrock has joined with  Essex and Herts Air Ambulance to campaign for a new landing site near Basildon Hospital. Essex Air Ambulance together with Stephen Metcalfe are appealing to the local authorities to help find a replacement landing site so that patients in need of life saving treatment can see be brought to the Hospital and the regions Cardio Thoracic Unit.

Stephen Metcalfe commented: “It would be a tragedy if this vital and life-saving aircraft loses its ability to continue to service our community. It is vitally important that we support this fight to ensure that the life-saving work of the Air Ambulance is safeguarded for the future.”

“I am very pleased to be lending my support to Essex Air Ambulance, and I call on all members of the community to rally around this crucial campaign and to help secure a suitable replacement site.”

The Essex Air Ambulance HEMS Team consisting of a highly experienced Pilot, Pre-hospital Care Doctor and Critical Care Paramedic are attending an increasing number of cardiac arrest patients due to the advanced equipment they carry on board such as an automatic chest compression device and QCPR kits enabling them to provide advanced level of cardiac care at the scene.

One of the unique advantages of having a Doctor on board is the important decision to triage patients to the most appropriate hospital if they require specialist care. This saves vital minutes between onset of illness to the patient receiving specialist medical care in hospital. Therefore it is paramount that in the case of cardiac arrests and other heart problems; there is a dedicated landing site allowing these patients the best chance of survival.

Monday, 17 November 2014

Stephen Metcalfe MP takes part in successful Parliament Week for schools

Stephen Metcalfe, local Member of Parliament for South Basildon and East Thurrock has this week highlighted the huge success of Parliament week, both locally and nationally. Parliament Week is a nationwide programme of events and activities that connect people across the UK with Parliament and democracy.

This year Stephen Metcalfe chose to focus on engaging with schools and young people and visited and spoke at a number of local schools. At Woodlands school, he took part in a question and answers session with year 10 and 11 students from the Citizenship Group; at Hassenbrook School in Stanford-le-Hope he spoke to the Student Voice Group about their concerns around anti-social behaviour; while at Great Berry Primary School he talked about what an MP does with the year 6 students.  Finally, Stephen finished off the week with a visit to Pitsea Junior School where he took part in a Great War project event.

Stephen Metcalfe commented: “Parliament week is vitally important for ensuring that our young people are not left behind by our democratic and parliamentary processes. It was such an uplifting experience taking part in the Q&A sessions with the school pupils; the questions were intelligent and thoughtful and the children I met are a real credit to our local community.
“It was also a wonderful privilege to be invited to take part in the Remembrance services at Pitsea Junior School. The school has done a wonderful job at bringing the message of Remembrance to the pupils and teaching them about life in the trenches. To see them making individual poppies for each of the fallen soldiers from the Basildon Parish was incredibly moving.”

“I am a huge supporter of Parliament Week and it has truly become one of my favourite occasions on my Parliamentary calendar.”

“Parliament week is vitally important for ensuring that our young people are not left out of our democratic process.”
Stephen Metcalfe MP: tax cut supporting jobs and backing businesses in Basildon and Thurrock

Local MP Stephen Metcalfe has welcomed new figures released today showing that 84,000 businesses in the East of England are benefitting from the Government’s Employment Allowance since its introduction in April, making it easier for businesses to hire staff and create jobs.

The Employment Allowance is a reduction in National Insurance Contributions that an employer pays for its employees. The allowance is worth up to £2,000 off the National Insurance bill of every employer and is open to businesses, charities and community amateur sports clubs.

The allowance means a business could now hire someone on £22,400 a year, or four people working full-time on the minimum wage, and not have to pay any employer National Insurance Contributions. This is making it easier for local businesses to grow and create more jobs in Basildon and Thurrock.

Within the first six months of its launch, over 850,000 employers across the country have benefitted from the Employment Allowance.

Stephen Metcalfe commented: “This tax cut is a key part of our long-term economic plan to back business and secure a better future for Britain. Already, so many businesses in the region are benefitting from the cut, making it easier for them to hire staff and create jobs.

Our long-term economic plan is helping to create jobs by making it easier for businesses to take on new employees. Since the last election, businesses in the UK have created over 2 million jobs.

“We now need to see our long-term economic plan through to deliver economic security and peace of mind for hardworking people in Basildon and Thurrock.”
Stephen Metcalfe MP hails huge success of remembrance project in Parliament

This week, Local MP Stephen Metcalfe invited and organised a Parliamentary reception for some of the key members behind the successful “Forget Never, Oublier Jamais, Vergessen Niemals” Project.

Jonathon and Jade at the Festival of Remembrance
Launched by Stephen Metcalfe earlier this year, the Forget Never project is a World War 1 Commemorative project linking the twinning towns of Basildon, Meaux and Heiligenhaus in France and Germany. News of the project spread rapidly and eventually had involvement from a variety of local community members, including schools, businesses, historians, artists, authors and the Basildon Heritage Group.

The unique nature of this project, as recognised by the Lottery Heritage Fund who have awarded the project over £50,000, is that it brings together the three twinning towns to create a tri-lingual commemoration of the centenary. The project will continue to explore what life was like in the three townships; attitudes from the three points of view and, most importantly, allow us to remember the people – those who died, those who suffered incredible injuries and of course those who survived and kept the communities running during this important period in our history.

The success of the Forget Never project was recognised this month, when it was invited to be part of the Festival of Remembrance at the Royal Albert Hall last Saturday, on the eve of Remembrance Sunday. Jonathon Horst 18 from Velbert, Germany and Jade Petchey 19 from Southend were honoured to be chosen and represented the project delivering the Anglo/German tribute in the finale at the festival.

Jonathon and Jade presented the President, Lieutenant General Sir John Kiszely KCB MC, of the Royal British Legion with a poppy posy which was laid on top of the regimental drums in the centre of the auditorium. The two youths then addressed the audience reading a pray in both English and German.

Stephen Metcalfe commented: “This project really has gone from strength to strength. From its humble local beginnings, it has now been recognised at a national level, and I feel truly privileged to have been a part of it.”

“The team behind it have been truly incredible, and I know they all swelled with pride on Saturday evening. I would like to thank them for helping make our local community a key part of the national commemoration festival.”

Owing to the success of the project, Stephen Metcalfe was keen to organise a reception for some of the key members of ‘Forget Never’ in Parliament earlier this week. Project members were treated to a tour of the Palace of Westminster, and Stephen personally thanked them all for bringing his original idea to life.