Wednesday, 21 May 2014

Stephen Metcalfe MP welcomes EEC decision to save crossing patrols

Local MP Stephen Metcalfe has welcomed the news that Essex County Council Highways Cabinet Member, Cllr Rodney Bass, has decided to save 48 lollipop patrols on zebra crossings across Essex. This means the majority of crossing patrols in South Basildon have been saved.

While all the details are still unclear, it is obvious that Council Bass has listen and responded to representations made by Parliamentary and Local Council colleagues.

Stephen said: “I am delighted that Cllr Bass has seen sense and saved 48 of the crossing patrols which were under threat and that the remainder that are still under consideration will be examined by a scrutiny panel.”

Stephen added: “This shows that when we work together and make a good case to change a decision the outcome can be different. This is a positive outcome and I hope that more positive news will be forthcoming in the near future. Now we just have to persuade Cllr Bass to look again at the whole issue of Part Night Lighting in Basildon as I still have deep concerns about a number of aspects of this policy.”

Stephen Metcalfe MP celebrates 30 years of ITEC Learning Technologies

Local MP Stephen Metcalfe recently paid a visit to Basildon based ITEC Learning Technologies to celebrate 30 years of service provision in the local area.

ITEC have been established in Basildon since 1984, providing a wide range of training programmes and courses to people of all ages and to SMEs across Essex. They also have a fantastic track record of supporting young people.

Each year they attract hundreds of applications to their technical IT apprenticeship programmes and also run an Alternative Education Programme which offers to training to 14-16 years old students who are no longer in mainstream education. These programmes have gone from strength to strength, with many transferring on to an Apprenticeship programme on leaving school.

Mr Metcalfe commented: “As well as offering excellent training opportunities to businesses throughout the County, ITEC make an invaluable contribution to the lives of young people in the local area.”

“They are committed to training apprentices and to offering opportunities to those who have struggled in mainstream education. They also sponsor both Pitsea and Bowers Gifford Football Clubs. I would like to thank ITEC for their ongoing efforts in the community and congratulate them on 30years of brilliant service to Basildon. I look forward to seeing what the next 30 years have in store!”

Thursday, 15 May 2014

Stephen Metcalfe MP encourages schools to get girls coding

Local MP Stephen Metcalfe has written to all schools in South Basildon and East Thurrock to encourage them to take part in Parliament’s ‘Girls Get Coding’, an initiative to inspire young girls to learn computer programming skills.

The initiative provides learning materials for young people aged 10 - 12, teaching them the basics of coding through games and other interactive resources. Schools that take part can nominate a group of girls for a special trip to the Houses of Parliament, where they will get the chance to teach their MP to code too.

Schools that join in will find themselves ahead of the game when the new computing curriculum is introduced in September 2014. Under the new curriculum, children in all age groups will have to learn to code. Girls Get Coding focuses on females, as there is a worrying shortage of women working in the tech sector - only 1 in 5 computer professionals are female.

Mr Metcalfe commented: “I’d love schools in South Basildon and East Thurrock to participate in Girls Get Coding. It’s a great opportunity to learn some programming skills, and particularly for girls to see how much fun it is to learn to code and make a computer do what you want it to. And if one of our schools is selected to come to Westminster, I’ll get the chance to learn to code too!”

“On a more serious note, I am extremely keen to see me more young women fulfilling their potential in science and technology based subjects. It is such an exciting industry and I hope that if selected, this initiative could inspire our next generation of computer scientists.”

Stephen Metcalfe MP: More jobs means a more secure future for people in South Basildon and East Thurrock

Local MP Stephen Metcalfe has welcomed new figures released today showing that unemployment has again fallen in South Basildon and East Thurrock.

The number of claimants in the local area is 752 lower than in April 2013 and 83 lower than in March 2014. In the South East as a whole, the number of people in work has increased by 212,000 since the last election. This means more people with the financial security of a regular pay packet, better able to provide for their families.

These figures are reflected nationally with 30.43 million people in employment. This is up 283,000 this quarter and 1.59 million since the election in 2010.

Mr Metcalfe commented: “It is fantastic news that unemployment continues to fall in South Basildon and East Thurrock and the wider area. In the South East there are 212,000 more people with a regular pay packet to bring home to their families and a more financially secure future.”

“Here in South Basildon and East Thurrock there are now fewer people on benefits than there were last year, with local people benefitting local investment and job creation. There is further to go, but as these figures show, the Conservatives’ long-term economic plan is working. We need to stick to this plan. It’s getting people off benefits and into work, delivering a more secure future for people in the local area and beyond.”

Stephen Metcalfe MP encourages asbestos awareness

Stephen Metcalfe, local MP for South Basildon and East Thurrock, paid a visit to the Institute of Kitchen, Bedroom & Bathroom Installers (iKKBI) to learn more about their new lifesaving asbestos awareness training initiative.

Working with the Hertfordshire based training provider Asbestos Training Limited, the iKBBI have commissioned a bespoke online course specifically aimed at installers of kitchens & bathrooms. The course been uniquely tailored to KBB installers and will result in an industry recognised qualification from UKATA (United Kingdom Asbestos Training Association) and the certification of Asbestos Awareness training.

Speaking on behalf of the training provider Asbestos Training Limited, Jacqui Royall, Training Manager said: “Our online Asbestos Awareness course is incredibly straight forward and has already been used by tens of thousands of people in the work place from the self employed worker through to very large organisations to ensure that they are fully aware of the risks as well as being compliant with current regulations”.

Local MP and iKBBI Patron Stephen Metcalfe MP commented on the initiative: “Asbestos awareness is clearly an important subject, as is the health and wellbeing of tradespeople and their customers. The iKBBI has worked hard with the training provider to deliver a simple, yet highly effective solution that is relevant to the institute’s industry – a UK first I believe”. 

For more information on the initiative visit:

Monday, 12 May 2014

Stephen Metcalfe MP judges BEST local study projects

Stephen Metcalfe, MP for South Basildon and East Thurrock and patron of the Basildon Education Services Trust (BEST), joined a panel of local educators to judge the final of the Local Study round of BEST’s annual educational competition.

BEST work with primary schools throughout Basildon aiming to raise both educational standards and aspirations of local school children. Their annual competition, otherwise known as the ‘Basildon Challenge’, gives schools the opportunity to complete a number of projects across a range of subjects.

The Local Study Round followed on from the Literacy Challenge and required each school to produce a poster or other creative item such as a dance or a song, highlighting ‘why Basildon is the BEST’. Both Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 2 students then had to present their creative masterpieces to a panel of BEST judges.

Mr Metcalfe was called upon to judge the entries and praised the high standards and creativity of all who took part. He commented: “It is a real privilege to support BEST in their ongoing work and the Basildon Challenge is always a fantastic competition that brings the best out of all who take part.” 

“I was so impressed by each of the school’s entries. They really captured what is great about Basildon in their creations and their presentations were also extremely impressive. I would like to congratulate Whitmore, Fairhouse, Merrylands, and Greenstead Primary Schools for all of their hard work and I look forward to seeing what happens in the remaining stages of the Challenge.”

Stephen Metcalfe MP pays a visit to Kingswood Junior School

Stephen Metcalfe, local MP for South Basildon and East Thurrock, recently paid a visit to Kingswood Junior School.

Stephen had the opportunity to attend the school assembly where he helped give out achievement awards and to celebrate the great achievement of some students.

Following this Stephen acted as “Mr Speaker” as Year 6 students staged a House of Commons style debate on the issue of should Children work!

Following a split vote on the issue, Stephen said: “The students presented well thought out arguments on both sides of the debate and spoke in accordance with House of Commons rules, countering each other’s debating points. They were a credit to their school and I think I might have some serious competition in the future.”

After the debate the MP was given a tour of the school and the chance to talk to both staff and pupils about their work at Kingswood and was interviewed by the Student Newspaper.

He commented: “Visiting local schools is definitely one of the highlights of my job and going to Kingswood Junior School was no exception. It is making great progress and it was clear from all my activities at the school that the students not only enjoy being there but thriving there too.” 

“I will continue to work hard that to ensure that educational standards in South Basildon and East Thurrock and that all schools in the local area can provide the best possible start for our young people.”

Thursday, 8 May 2014

Stephen Metcalfe MP takes to the airwaves in Basildon Hospital Radio anniversary celebrations

Stephen Metcalfe with Hospital Chair, Jacqui James and presenter/Vice President Alan Newman

Stephen Metcalfe, local MP for South Basildon and East Thurrock, joined presenters at Basildon Hospital Radio to celebrate the station’s 40th anniversary.

The occasion was marked with a weekend of special events for patients, staff, and visitors which included guest appearances on the radio station, more commonly known as BHR1287.

BHR1287 has been broadcasting to Basildon Hospital for forty years and is staffed entirely by volunteers. Shortly after Basildon Hospital opened, the station began transmitting from a small studio in the tower block of Basildon Hospital. Things have certainly moved on in 40 years; since relocating in 1993 they have moved to purpose built, fully equipped studios.

The radio station now broadcasts 24 hours a day bringing a mixture of news, features, and request show favourites to listeners throughout the hospital.

Mr Metcalfe commented: “It was fantastic to join Basildon Hospital Radio to celebrate their 40th anniversary. It was also extremely fitting that this could be celebrated in the midst of improving standards and after it has turned a real corner. I have high expectations for the next 40 years!” 

“I would also like to take this opportunity to thank each and every volunteer who works so hard to keep the station on air. I saw for myself the positive impact it has on patients, staff and visitors and this would not be possible without their efforts. I would also like to thank all those who sponsor the station allowing it to continue to broadcast.”

Wednesday, 7 May 2014

Stephen Metcalfe MP encourages local businesses to get exporting with the help of the UKTI

Stephen Metcalfe, local MP for South Basildon and East Thurrock, recently joined local businesses and Councillors at The Green Centre in Wat Tyler Park as part of a “Meet the Buyers” event organised by Basildon Council.

During the event, Stephen had the opportunity to meet with Eastern Region UK Trade and Investment (UKTI) representative, Pat Smith to discuss improving export opportunities for Basildon based businesses.

The event gave UKTI the chance to come together with businesses based in Basildon and Thurrock to encourage them to export their products and to show them that it may be easier than they think to create markets abroad for their goods and services.

The Government is actively encouraging businesses of all sizes to export beyond Britain’s borders and the local MP, who has always been passionate about business, was keen to see local businesses benefit from potential opportunities.

Mr Metcalfe commented: “I would encourage any business in South Basildon and East Thurrock interested in exporting to get in touch with the UKTI. They are keen to see business prosper and may be able to help local businessmen and women achieve their dream of expanding.” 

For more information on the UKTI and to find out how to contact them, please visit:

Tuesday, 6 May 2014

Stephen Metcalfe MP visits latest Felmores fire site

Stephen Metcalfe, local Member of Parliament for Pitsea, recently met with Council Officers for a walk about the Felmores estate to discuss the progress of the cladding programme and to visit the site of the most recent fire.

Stephen was told how all Council properties are being upgraded with new cladding that will improve insulation and also increase safety in the event of a fire.  He welcomed the programme but has also been in discussions with the Council to try to make the cladding more affordable for non Council tenants. 

Stephen said “I would of course like the cladding work to be undertaken without cost to any of the residents, but the Council have stated that at present that is not practicable. The cladding makes a real difference to both the look and feel of homes on the Felmores estate and I would like it to be available to as many people as possible. Unfortunately, at the moment, upgrade work is very expensive for home owners.  I have therefore asked the Council to look again at the issue and to see if there is anything more that they can do which would encourage increased uptake.”

Stephen also visited the site of the blaze in Winstree last Wednesday which has completely destroyed the interior of the property but, thanks to the cladding, the outside and neighbouring properties remained almost completely unscathed.

Stephen said: “We can never protect completely against home fires - if someone starts a fire inside or outside a home it will, like any other property, burn.  But I am very pleased the new cladding did its job and stopped the fire spreading to neighbouring properties. As I have said many times, the homes in Felmores do not self ignite and are fundamentally safe. This has been confirmed by both the fire service and independent assessors.” 

"I am very pleased that Basildon Council is taking action to minimize the risk of fire spreading and I hope that the Council will continue to look for ways to improve matters for the residents of Felmores”.

Thursday, 1 May 2014

Stephen Metcalfe MP takes to the river with the Port of London Authority

Stephen Metcalfe, local MP for South Basildon and East Thurrock, recently visited the Port of London Authority (PLA) to discuss a number of issues affecting local ports.

The local MP was introduced to the hydrographic department to learn about their role in local shipping and port activities before taking a trip along the river the London Gateway to see how the new port is progressing.

Mr Metcalfe also had the opportunity to discuss proposals that would see much of the Thames designated a Marine Conservation Zone. Whilst this is currently on hold, it could have potentially far reaching consequences for the local port economy.

He commented: “The river and local ports are integral features of Thurrock’s identity and of the local and national economy. It was great to see the industry thriving and also extremely informative to hear the perspective of the PLA on a number of issues.”  

“I look forward to working with the PLA and other local agencies in the future to ensure that local ports continue to flourish and are not hampered by unnecessary regulation.”

Stephen Metcalfe MP welcomes local schools to Parliament

This week Stephen Metcalfe, MP for South Basildon and East Thurrock, welcomed two local primary schools to the Houses of Parliament.

Northlands Junior School and Great Berry Primary School each sent representatives from their school councils for a guided tour of the House of Commons and House of Lords before meeting with the local MP for a question and answer session and photo’s in Westminster Hall.

Mr Metcalfe takes every opportunity to ensure that local schools can engage with the Houses of Parliament and Britain’s democratic processes via visits to the Palace as well as making frequent visits to local schools throughout South Basildon and East Thurrock.

He commented: “It always a pleasure to meet with local students both here in Westminster and in the constituency. The children were fantastic ambassadors for their schools and I thoroughly enjoyed hearing about the work of their respective school council’s and responding to their insightful questions.” 

“I look forward to welcoming more local schools to the Houses of Parliament in the future and to continuing my work fighting for better standards, more opportunities, and greater aspirations in South Basildon and East Thurrock.”