Monday, 30 June 2014

Stephen Metcalfe MP opens annual Feast and Fayre at Horndon on the Hill

Stephen Metcalfe, MP for South Basildon and East Thurrock, joined the local community to open the Horndon on the Hill annual Feast and Fayre last Saturday.

The fayre dates back to the 13th century when the village was granted a Royal Charter in 1215 to hold a feast and celebration on the last weekend in June. Revived in 1974, the Feast and Fayre sees the village transformed and the high road lined with a diverse range of stalls and entertainment.

This year, under the theme of ‘the Legend of King Arthur’, the entertainment included live music, craft sales, a 10km road race, and charity displays.

Mr Metcalfe commented: “The Feast and Fayre is a brilliant celebration of the local area both now and through the ages. It demonstrates that community spirit is very much alive and well and provides local organisations and charities with a great platform to champion great causes.” 

“I would like to thank all those involved in organising the fayre and the volunteers who gave up their time to create such a great event. The atmosphere was fantastic and I hope that those who attended enjoyed the occasion as much as I did. I look forward to seeing this tradition continue for many years to come so that future generations can celebrate the wonderful heritage of Horndon-on-the-Hill and hope to be invited back next year to celebrate the 800th Anniversary of the Charter.”

Stephen Metcalfe MP jumps from 13,000ft in support of soldiers

Stephen Metcalfe, local MP for South Basildon and East Thurrock, recently jumped out of a plane from 13,000ft to raise money for The Soldiers Charity.

The MP completed the tandem sky dive alongside the Army’s freefall display team, The Tigers.

The Soldiers Charity give lifetime support to serving and retired soldiers and their families by providing financial assistance to soldiers and their families when in need. Even when a soldier leaves the Army they are still eligible for assistance. Half of the charity’s money is given directly to individuals to help in areas such as debt relief, mobility assistance, education bursaries, and care home fees. The other half is given as grants to other charities.

Mr Metcalfe commented: “Our armed forces have put everything on the line to serve our country and they have done so time and time again. Their courage is second to none, therefore it was the least I could do to test my courage!”

“The Soldiers Charity looks after thousands of soldiers and their families during extremely difficult times and it was a privilege to play a small part in raising money for them.”

Brigadier (Ret'd) Robin Bacon, Chief of Staff at ABF The Soldiers' Charity, said: "There are not many people who would sign on the dotted line for a skydive - it takes a brave person. It's a challenging way to raise money. Stephen is the first MP ever to jump for us - we're extremely grateful for the chance this gives us to spread the word throughout Parliament and beyond. We have a number of jumps throughout the summer so we want to encourage others to take this big plunge.”

It is not too late to sponsor Stephen. If you have any money to spare and would like to support the cause, please visit:

For more information about The Soldiers Charity, or to sign up for the next jump, visit                                           

Thursday, 19 June 2014

Stephen Metcalfe MP supports Basildon Hospital in wake of Labour scaremongering

Stephen Metcalfe, MP for South Basildon and East Thurrock, has come out in support of Basildon Hospital in light of comments made by the local Labour candidate which suggested that patient care is going backwards.

The candidate’s comments were made in reference to recent figures which show that Basildon and Thurrock University Hospital’s NHS Foundation Trust has a deficit of £4.66m. The local MP has hit back at the remarks, highlighting the drastic improvements made at the Hospital in recent months.

Mr Metcalfe said: “In the last couple of weeks we learned that Basildon Hospital has been brought out of special measures, that it was rated ‘Good’ at its latest inspection, that there are more hospital beds, patient care is improving, more nurses are on the wards, and death rates are down.”

“I appreciate that £4.66m is a substantial sum but this must be understood within the context of the improving standards and planned investments designed to ensure patients are receiving the best possible treatment. I have no doubt that the Hospital are committed to managing their finances responsibly and it is a shame that Labour have resorted to scaremongering rather than constructively engaging with the issues to ensure that standards continue to improve.”

A spokesperson from the Hospital said: “The trust is committed to providing excellent patient care that is also value for money. In 2013/4 the trust board agreed a planned year end deficit to make significant investments in quality, including opening additional beds and employing more clinical staff, which improves care and reduces our reliance on agency staff.” 

“Continuing work to improve care while ensuring the trust doesn’t spend more than it earns is our main priority. As part of this aim the trust has launched a new cost improvement programme to deliver major savings. Monitor, the foundation trust regulator, has been fully updated on our financial plans for 2014/5.”

Jump before you're pushed! MP takes fundraising for Soldiers to new heights

Member of Parliament Stephen Metcalfe will be taking to the skies for ABF The Soldiers' Charity - jumping from 13,000 feet in support of soldiers and their families.

Stephen, MP for South Basildon and East Thurrock, will be taking part in a tandem skydive next month, he said; "Soldiers show great courage when serving their country, and I want to do my bit in return. This certainly will be different from the challenging debates in Parliament.”

"The Soldiers’ Charity looks after thousands of soldiers and families who are facing hardship, as well as many specialist charities that help the wider Army family. Stephen adds; “As current operations come to a close, we still need to keep the Army in our thoughts. Some of the issues they may face can surface long after operational tours are over."

Brigadier (Ret'd) Robin Bacon, Chief of Staff at ABF The Soldiers' Charity, said: "There are not many people who would sign on the dotted line for a skydive - it takes a brave person. It's a challenging way to raise money. Stephen is the first MP ever to jump for us - we're extremely grateful for the chance this gives us to spread the word throughout Parliament and beyond. We have a number of jumps throughout the summer so we want to encourage others to take this big plunge.”

Stephen will be jumping alongside The Tigers, who are the Army’s freefall display team from The Princess of Wales Regiment. He will also be joined by 77 year old Chelsea Pensioner Ray Pearson who will be jumping in his scarlet uniform to raise funds for The Soldiers’ Charity.  The jump will take place on the 20th June at Netheravon Airfield in Wiltshire.

For more information, or to sign up for the next jump, visit

To support Stephen, visit

Or for details on how you can take part in the skydive, please visit:

Stephen Metcalfe MP welcomes public consultation on Frost Estate

Stephen Metcalfe, local MP for South Basildon and East Thurrock, has welcomed the news that Thurrock Council will be conducting a public consultation into roads on the Frost Estate.

Local residents, councillors, and the local MP have been campaigning for the Council to fix the road which has fallen into a state of disrepair. Earlier this year the Frost Estate Residents Association submitted a petition which called on the Council to hold a referendum on creating a community, or parish council.

Thurrock Council will now initiate a consultation and if 51% of Frost Estate residents engage with the process, a parish council could be up and running by May 2015. This would then allow the parish council to precept money to repair the roads.

Mr Metcalfe commented: “This is fantastic news for the Frost Estate residents and brings them one step closer to their ultimate objective of getting the roads fixed.” 

“I would like to thank the local councillors how have been involved in solving this issue and the Frost Estate steering group who’s dedication and determination is now beginning to pay off. Hopefully when I visit the Estate in the future, we will be even closer to getting the roads back into working condition.”

Wednesday, 18 June 2014

Stephen Metcalfe MP: Victory as green belt land is saved at Little Chalvedon Hall

Stephen Metcalfe, local MP for South Basildon and East Thurrock, was informed by the Government today that the green belt land at Little Chalvedon has been saved and will not be subject to development.

The Secretary of State for Communities and Government, Eric Pickles MP, agreed with the inspector that development of the land would be inappropriate, that it would have harmed the green belt and increase traffic volumes to an unacceptable level.

The local MP, Stephen Metcalfe, has been campaigning against the proposals and took the fight to the Planning Inspectorate in March where he called upon officials to listen the views of local residents who vehemently oppose the proposals. He wrote to the secretary of state, arguing that the development plans flew in the face of localism and were an assault on democratic decision making.

Mr Metcalfe commented: “I am delighted that local people have been listened to! The Secretary of State has demonstrated that the Government are committed to the localism agenda, to listening to the will of the people, and to protecting much loved Green Belt land.”  

“I would like to thank each and every person who made their views known to me on this issue as it enabled me to effectively communicate the strength of feeling against the plans to the Inspectorate and to the Government. I look forward to seeing the Green Belt land enjoyed and cherished for many more years to come.”

Monday, 16 June 2014

Stephen Metcalfe MP joins the Big Collection for Diabetes UK

Stephen Metcalfe, MP for South Basildon and East Thurrock, recently joined Diabetes UK in the local Tesco store in Pitsea for their annual Big Collection week.

The Tesco Big Collection took place from 13-15 June in 300 Tesco stores across the UK and aimed to raise some £300,000 for the charity.

Diabetes UK work hard throughout the year to support people in the UK suffering with diabetes. As well providing someone for people to talk to, they hold training and awareness events, support groups and opportunities for children, young people and their families to meet other families living with the problem.

Mr Metcalfe commented: “It was fantastic to be able to support Diabetes UK in their Big Collection. Their work is invaluable and through meeting constituents with diabetes I have seen first-hand the positive impact they have.”

“I would like to thank the volunteers who were out collecting in Pitsea over the weekend and also thank all those who gave to the cause whilst out doing their shopping. Your generosity will make a real difference.” 

The local Diabetes UK support group meet at Basildon Hospital Education Centre at 7:30pm each second Tuesday of the month. For further information about the charity, please visit:

Thursday, 12 June 2014

Stephen Metcalfe MP: Join our army of local lifesaving superheroes

Stephen Metcalfe MP has joined the Cancer charity, Anthony Nolan, to search for more local heroes in South Basildon and East Thurrock to join their bone marrow register in the fight against blood cancer.

The charity has revealed today that, in South Basildon and East Thurrock there are more than 574 selfless people willing to donate their stem cells, or bone marrow, to save the life of a stranger. More than 525,000 people are currently on the Anthony Nolan register and the average per constituency is 796.

Anthony Nolan, now in its 40th anniversary year, was the world’s first bone marrow register. The blood cancer charity has been saving lives for four decades by matching remarkable people willing to donate their bone marrow to patients in desperate need of a transplant.

Two thirds of UK patients will not find a matching donor from within their families; instead they turn to Anthony Nolan to find them an unrelated donor. But the charity can currently only find a match for around half of those who to come to them in desperate need, and they still urgently need more people to come forward.

Local MP, Stephen Metcalfe, has joined the fight against blood cancer by sharing their support and championing the the register in their community.

Commenting, Mr Metcalfe said: “I have 574 heroes on the register here in South Basildon and East Thurrock but the challenge continues. I’m hunting for more crusaders to sign up today, so we can fight blood cancer together. It is something truly heroic to give a stranger a second chance at life. This is why I’m proud to champion this cause to my constituents.”

Ann O’Leary, Head of Register Development at Anthony Nolan, says: “We are delighted that Mr Metcalfe has been inspired to encourage others to sign up as donors. Donating is an incredibly selfless thing to do and will give someone with blood cancer their best chance at survival. What many people don’t realise is that it is also surprisingly simple.”

To join the Anthony Nolan register you must be 16-30 and in good health. It involves filling out a simple online form and spitting into a tube. 

The charity needs heroes of all ages to champion the register at a local level and help us spread the word – from schools, communities and workplaces to your own friends and family. To find out how you can be a hero visit to

Stephen Metcalfe MP: Unemployment continues to fall in South Basildon and East Thurrock

Local MP Stephen Metcalfe has welcomed the news that unemployment has fallen again in South Basildon and East Thurrock.

There are now 869 fewer people in the local area claiming job seeker benefits than in May 2013. Since April 2014 alone, the figure has fallen by 137.

These local figures come in the wake of today’s announcement that 2 million private sector jobs have now been created since this Conservative government came into power in 2010.

The local MP commented: “Unemployment has consistently been falling in South Basildon and East Thurrock and this can only be good news for households in the local area. It means greater security for workers and is testament to the fact that business in Basildon and Thurrock is thriving and the area is reaping the benefits from our economic recovery.”  

“I want to see this momentum continue and have every confidence that if we stick to the Government’s long term economic plan we will continue to see fewer people out of work and more people with well-earned money in their pockets.”

Wednesday, 11 June 2014

Stephen Metcalfe MP litter picks for Love Where You Live Campaign

Stephen Metcalfe, local MP for South Basildon and East Thurrock, recently joined volunteers in Basildon to help them collect litter for Keep Britain Tidy’s ‘Love Where You Live’ campaign.

The campaign is running the length and breadth of the country throughout June and aims to clean up local public areas, tackle problems such as dog mess, and bring the community together behind a common cause.

Around 40 Volunteers joined forces for the litter pick in and around Basildon which was sponsored by McDonalds.

Mr Metcalfe commented: “Keep Britain Tidy is a fantastic charity making a real difference to communities throughout the UK. They understand that cleaner streets and community spaces make such a difference to the feel of a local area, and are the backbone of strong communities. Basildon is certainly not an exception to this.”

“Basildon is a fantastic place and I was delighted to see local people coming together and taking a real pride in where they live. I hope that all local residents will get behind the campaign and help to keep Basildon tidy not just in June, but on an ongoing basis.”

To see how you can get involved, or to organise a cleanup in your local park, community area, or other green space, have a look at the Love Where You Live website: 

Mr Metcalfe added: “I would like to thank all of the volunteers who took part in the clean up and McDonalds for partnering the event. I hope there will be many more in the future!”

Monday, 9 June 2014

Stephen Metcalfe MP thanks staff for bringing Basildon Hospital out of special measures

Stephen Metcalfe, local MP for South Basildon and East Thurrock, has said he is delighted that Basildon Hospital has been brought out of special measures and has thanked all staff who have worked so hard to bring the improvements.

It was announced today that the Hospital received a ‘Good’ rating after its latest inspection, bypassing the ‘Satisfactory’ rating in doing so.

Basildon Hospital was one of 14 Trusts places into special measures following a public inquiry into the Stafford Hospital scandal. The latest inspection shows just how far the hospital has come thanks to the hard work of staff, a new management team, and the oversight of the Secretary of State, Jeremy Hunt who has visited the hospital.

Mr Metcalfe commented: “This really is fantastic news for the staff and patients at Basildon Hospital. I have been working closely with the new management team and it is brilliant to see that the hard work and dedication of all staff has paid off.” 

“Together with the Government we have tackled the problems head on and as a result there are now more nurses on the wards, death rates are down, and there are more beds thanks to the opening of a new ward. I would like to congratulate all who have worked so hard to turn things around and I have no doubt that the Hospital will continue to head in the right direction.”

Stephen Metcalfe MP: Cheques are on their way to Visteon Pensioners

Stephen Metcalfe, local MP for South Basildon and East Thurrock, has today received news from Ford that the Visteon pensioners should receive their pension settlements by the end of the month.

Almost every eligible pensioner has agreed to the terms of the deal which were agreed last month after Ford entered into binding and constructive talks with Unite on behalf the Visteon Pension Action Group to settle the claim.

Joined by colleagues from across the House, Mr Metcalfe tirelessly campaigned for Ford to honour their moral responsibilities to their former employees who suffered pension losses of up to 50% when Visteon UK collapsed in 2009 after being was spun off from Ford in 2000.

The All Party Parliamentary Group in support of Visteon pensioners, chaired by Mr Metcalfe, have held debates in the House of Commons on the matter, made representations to the Government, attended demonstrations, and have supported the Visteon Pension Action Group (VPAG) in the fight for their pensions.

Mr Metcalfe commented: “I am delighted to hear the Visteon pensioners will be receiving payments so soon after Ford agreed to settle the claim. This will be the end of a long fought campaign and I know that every pensioner involved in this campaign will be extremely pleased with the outcome.” 

“I would like to once again thank Ford for honouring their responsibilities. By righting this wrong, they have restored their proud reputation for looking after their workers and I look forward to working with them in the future as they continue to make an invaluable contribution to the national economy, and our local economy in Basildon.” 

Wednesday, 4 June 2014

Stephen Metcalfe MP comes together with local artist for exhibition opening

Stephen Metcalfe, local MP for South Basildon and East Thurrock, paid a visit to the Eastgate Shopping Centre yesterday for the opening of an art exhibition featuring the work of local artist Sue Barnfield.

The exhibition, ‘come together’, is named after the Beatles song and is particularly pertinent for the local artist having seen her life ‘come together’ through her art. Ms Barnfield has produced an almost entirely new body of work for the exhibition, bringing landscapes, portraits and more abstract pieces together under one roof.

As well as being a prolific painter, Sue also teaches at Lincewood Primary Schools in Langdon Hills, passing on her extensive knowledge and skills to the next generation of artists.

The local MP has always been supportive of the visual arts in South Basildon and East Thurrock and said he was delighted to have been invited to the opening of the unique exhibition.

Mr Metcalfe commented: “It was fantastic to be at the opening of this exhibition. It is a great use of the space in the shopping centre and gives the general public the chance to see some brilliant artwork by one of our very own local artists.” 

“I was incredibly impressed by the standard of the work and would like to congratulate Sue on creating such a diverse and imaginative exhibition. There really is something for everyone and I would encourage everyone in South Basildon and East Thurrock to come and take a look!”

Stephen Metcalfe MP thanks local volunteers

Local MP Stephen Metcalfe is taking advantage of Volunteers Week to thank volunteers in South Basildon and East Thurrock for their dedication to the community.

Volunteers Week, which runs from 1-7 June 2014, is a chance to recognise the invaluable contribution that millions of volunteers make to charities and other organisations up and down country. Hundreds of events will be taking place as charities, schools, hospitals and others use Volunteers’ Week as a time to thank their volunteers.

In South Basildon and East Thurrock alone there are around 129 voluntary organisations many of which rely on the dedication, energy, and commitment of volunteers of all ages and from all walks of life.
Mr Metcalfe commented: “Nationally, The Office for National Statistics calculate the value of volunteering in the UK at £23.9bn. This is an incredible figure but the real value lies in the lives and communities that have been changed for the better because of the efforts of volunteers.”

“I have had the privilege of visiting many tremendous projects and charities that would simply not exist were it not for volunteers. would like to thank each and every volunteer in South Basildon and East Thurrock for their work and would encourage anyone interested in volunteering to take the plunge and find out more!”

Justin Davis Smith, director of volunteering at the National Council for Voluntary Organisations added: “Volunteers’ Week is a great opportunity for us to recognise and celebrate volunteers and the incredible contribution they make to our communities. Volunteers are an integral part of our society, and without their dedication, energy and commitment, many of the services we take for granted would simply grind to a halt.”

“But the magic of volunteering is that it is a two-way relationship. So alongside the contribution to our local communities, volunteers also benefit tremendously from the experience – learning new skills, boosting their wellbeing, or simply meeting new people and having fun.”

To find out about events taking place locally please visit: or contact your local volunteering centre here:

Monday, 2 June 2014

Stephen Metcalfe MP: More people in Basildon and Thurrock able to buy their own home

Stephen Metcalfe MP has welcomed new figures showing that the Conservatives’ Help to Buy scheme is helping hardworking people in South Basildon and East Thurrock to buy their own home.

Help to Buy is helping families to get on the housing ladder in Basildon and Thurrock, with 283 people able to access an affordable mortgage and buy their own home since January 2014.

Across the country over 27,000 people have been able to buy their own home thanks to Help to Buy, with 85 per cent of those helped first-time buyers. 94 per cent of sales have been outside of London and the scheme is supporting responsible lending, with the average price of a house brought around £190,000, well below the national average.

Help to Buy is also giving builders the confidence to build, with the Equity Loan part of the scheme directly supporting demand for new-build homes. Since the scheme was launched, private sector house building is up 34 per cent and more new homes are now being built than at any time since 2007.

Mr Metcalfe said: “‘Labour’s Great Recession led to a collapse in house building and meant hardworking people found it nearly impossible to buy their own home.”

“That’s why the Conservatives, as part of our long-term economic plan, launched Help to Buy so that more people could get an affordable mortgage and get on the housing ladder. Since Help to Buy was launched 283 families in the local area have been able to buy their own home.” 

“Thanks to this initiative, even more families have been able to achieve their dream of owning their own home and can now enjoy greater financial security allowing them to plan for their future.”