Monday, 29 September 2014

Stephen Metcalfe MP: Start-Up Loans supporting new businesses in South Essex

Local MP Stephen Metcalfe has today welcomed the latest figures which show the Government’s Start-Up Loans scheme is thriving in South Basildon & East Thurrock. To date 19 people with the ideas and determination to start a new business in the constituency have been lent £81,738 to get their enterprise off the ground.

Across the UK, more than 20,000 Start-Up loans, worth over £100 million, have been awarded to help new businesses get going.

Stephen Metcalfe commented: “Backing businesses so they can help our country grow is a crucial part of our long-term economic plan. The more we support budding entrepreneurs the more our economy can thrive, and the more employment opportunities will increase.

I’m so pleased to see this initiative that is helping so many people across the country, also benefitting people across Basildon and Thurrock.

After struggling in the aftermath of Labour’s great recession, the Conservative Party is committed to making Britain the best place in the world to start and grow a business.

The ‘Funding for Lending’ programme as an example, is giving banks a clear incentive to lend more money to businesses, and the Business Bank has so far delivered £1.56 billion of lending and investment to over 30,000 businesses.”

Friday, 26 September 2014

Stephen Metcalfe MP hits out on Labour’s latest spending plans

Local MP Stephen Metcalfe has today criticised Labour’s position on the economy, and their spending plans if they were to win the next election.

Stephen Metcalfe commented: “The Labour Conference truly revealed to us all the level of complacency that exists in the Labour Party on economic matters.

Ed Balls’ speech for example contained £20.4bn of spending promises, but only £1.9bn of tax rises and savings. That’s an £18.5bn black hole!”

Stephen Metcalfe’s comments follow a recent Comres survey, which found that 85% of Labour candidates standing at the next election believe the last Labour government didn’t spend too much money. Further to this, 1 in 10 believed that they should have spent even more.

Stephen Metcalfe continued: “It just goes to show that after all of the progress we have made in recovering the economy, Labour present the biggest risk to our country’s long-term future.

In next year’s election, we cannot make the mistake of allowing Labour to reverse everything we have all achieved!”

Wednesday, 24 September 2014

Stephen Metcalfe MP: hails Scotland’s decision to keep the Union

Local MP Stephen Metcalfe has today commented on the “great success” on the results of last week’s referendum on Scottish independence, stating that this will revitalise politics for people across Basildon and Thurrock and up and down the country.

Stephen Metcalfe commented: “My position has been clear from the outset, the Union of the United Kingdom has proven to be one of the most successful political and economic partnerships of the modern world. I am absolutely delighted to see the majority of Scots agreeing, and backing the security that our unified country brings.

However, clearly an air of change is sweeping across British politics, and I agree with the Prime Minister that any extra powers to Scotland should not play out unfairly for the millions across England.

Clearly a new balance needs to be found in Westminster and my Conservative colleagues are I are committed to ensuring that the voices of England do not go unheard as the process of increased devolution gets underway.

This vote has been of huge significance to people across Basildon and Thurrock, because not only can we all feel more confident in our revitalised Union as the economy gets back on track, but it looks increasingly so that their opinions will carry even more weight in Westminster in the coming months.”

Monday, 22 September 2014

Stephen Metcalfe MP: welcomes a further fall in unemployment

Local MP Stephen Metcalfe, has today welcomed yet another fall in unemployment for South Basildon and East Thurrock. Statistics from the ONS showed that the number of unemployed JSA claimants fell by 38% on the previous year from 2,285 down to 1,423, that’s 862 more people in work this year than last!

Stephen Metcalfe said: “This is great news for everyone, but also particularly for our young people. The number of youth JSA claimants aged 18-24 has fallen by an amazing 44% on the previous year! That is now 380 down from the 680 young claimants in last August.

I really want to pay tribute to our local businesses and employers who have worked so hard in creating new opportunities for employment. These new figures really demonstrate that the Conservative long term economic plan, as well as the welfare reforms are really paying off for the country.

Throughout Britain the number of people relying on Jobseeker’s Allowance has fallen below 1 million for the first time since 2008. There is still more to do and I will continue to fight for more local jobs, money and full employment across Basildon and Thurrock. It is vital that the country continues on this path.”

Thursday, 18 September 2014

Stephen Metcalfe MP speaks up for Breast Cancer awareness

Local MP Stephen Metcalfe has joined the fight against breast cancer by taking part in Breast Cancer Campaign’s flagship fundraiser, wear it pink day.

The theme of wear it pink this year is to ‘look good, do good’ in support of breast cancer research. On Friday 24 October people across the country will come together to find fun and stylish ways to wear pink in the office, at home or at school. Donations raised by this year’s fashion inspired event will go to Breast Cancer Campaign to fund lifesaving breast cancer research. 

Stephen Metcalfe commented: “Every year in the UK over 50,000 women and around 350 men are diagnosed with breast cancer. Sadly, 12,000 women and 80 men die from this disease each year.

It is therefore vital that we all show our support for such an amazing cause, which will help fund world-class research, which will save and improve lives, and give people quicker diagnoses and more effective treatments.

I hope you’ll all join me by wearing it pink on Friday 24 October, and show support for breast cancer research!”

Wednesday, 17 September 2014

Stephen Metcalfe MP: supports getting more engineering employers involved in local schools

Stephen Metcalfe, MP for South Basildon and East Thurrock, has pledged his support to help fix the engineering skills shortage. He pledged to encourage employers in South Basildon and East Thurrock to work with schools to give young people work experience opportunities and inspirational information about the many exciting careers in engineering and technology.

Stephen Metcalfe commented: “We have now reached a point where more than half of employers are having difficulty recruiting the staff they need for their businesses to expand. It is vital that we support the inclusion of employers into our schools to help inspire our young people to consider some of the great career choices available to them.”

All 650 MPs were invited to the Institution of Engineering and Technology’s (IET) parliamentary reception to inspire the next generation of engineers on 10 September. They were asked to urge employers in their constituencies to work proactively with local schools and colleges to inspire more young people to become engineers as part of the wider STEM curriculum. The IET’s pledge also calls for MPs to encourage girls and boys to consider STEM careers, promote the value of vocational STEM subjects and promote STEM careers with parents.

The motivation for the pledge comes in response to findings from the IET’s 2014 Engineering and Technology Skills and Demand in Industry survey, which indicate that 53 per cent of employers believe they should get more involved with schools, colleges and universities to help change the perception of engineering among young people.

Stephen Metcalfe commented: “Initiatives such as this are crucial in bringing new job opportunities to our young people, and are a benefit for all those involved. Not only can we inspire interest in new careers and opportunities, but we can also encourage more innovation and more employment in business through new these new recruitment strategies.

It is also incredible that still just six percent of engineers are female. There is absolutely no reason why this should be the case, and for attitudes and prospects to change, we need to start early”.

IET Chief Executive, Nigel Fine, explained: “Demand for engineers in the UK remains high. We need 87,000 new engineers each year for the next decade, so there is a critical need to do more to promote engineering as an appealing career choice to young people.

It is encouraging to see from our survey that over half of engineering employers recognise that they have a crucial role to play here - as well as in helping to shape the curriculum so that young people enter the world of work with the skills that employers want.”

Thursday, 11 September 2014

Stephen Metcalfe MP speaks up for the “exceptional school leaders” in Basildon and Thurrock

Local MP Stephen Metcalfe yesterday spoke in Parliament about the importance of school leadership and brought the recent successes of local staff to the attention of the Minister for Schools.

Stephen Metcalfe speaking in Parliament yesterday
Stephen Metcalfe, speaking on the importance of education said: “Education is the foundation stone on which one’s future success is built. It is the base from which almost anything is possible and from which people can realise their full potential.

All that, is delivered by some truly dedicated and inspirational people who are found at every level of education in some truly excellent schools. Good education comes from good schools, which from my experience are led by good leaders.”

Stephen Metcalfe then went on to speak about local school staff saying: “In my constituency we are fortunate. We have some truly exceptional school leaders. Yes, it is true that education in Basildon and Thurrock has not always been as good as it could have been, but the leaders that we now have in place, and the support structures that surround them, will deliver, and are delivering, improving education for my constituents.”

There are too many good leaders to name them all, but I will pay tribute to a couple. First, I highlight the extraordinary dedication of Dr Sophina Asong, head teacher of Gable Hall school in Corringham. The area is like many others in the country, but unlike many areas—where the average proportion of five A* to C grades, including maths and English, is just under 60%—Gable Hall was pleased this year to achieve 74% with five A* to C grades, including maths and English.

I say “pleased” but the school was not satisfied; it knows it can do better, and Dr Asong and her incredible staff assure me that things will get better. I am sure we want to see such dedication and determination in all our schools.”

Stephen Metcalfe also paid tribute to the Executive principal of Woodlands School, Karen Kerridge, saying: “She took over the leadership at possibly the most difficult time that the school has ever faced. Less than a year after a disastrous Ofsted report, Karen has come in and worked tirelessly to turn the school around.

I am confident that under her leadership it may not be long before we once again have a “good” school, which would be entirely down to the fortitude and dedication of Karen and all her staff [including new head teacher Simon Cox].”

Stephen Metcalfe’s comments were well received by the Government Minister, who said: “I agree with his points about national education policy and the importance of good leadership and governance. He has many outstanding schools in his constituency, including Great Berry primary school, Lee Chapel primary school and the children’s support centre at Langdon Hills, which are all rated ‘outstanding’ by Ofsted.”…“I join him in congratulating the schools whose success he celebrated.”

Stephen Metcalfe commented later in the day: “I was delighted to bring to the attention of Parliament, the hardworking schools and staff that we have in our constituency. If we are to provide our children with the education system they deserve, it is vital that we support our schools when they clearly are making a difference”

Wednesday, 10 September 2014

Stephen Metcalfe MP: on the importance of keeping Scotland in the United Kingdom

Local MP Stephen Metcalfe has today commented on the importance of keeping the United Kingdom together and called for all those who have a vote, to reject independence with a firm No vote.

Stephen Metcalfe said: “The fact of the matter is that the UK has been one of the most successful monetary, fiscal and political unions in history; it would be absolutely tragic for all of us if it were to suddenly come to an end.

It is crucial that we all, up and down the country, and across party lines, support a truly UNITED Kingdom, where we can all benefit from the security of a growing economy and pooled resources.

This is especially so given the fact that the UK faces a complex and constantly changing world, with a number of difficult problems to face. We are all in a better position when tackling those problems with the unity and resolve that our historic union brings.

I know that people across the Basildon and Thurrock area and across all parties will recognise the difference that this issue makes, and I hope they will join me in calling our Scottish friends to vote No next week ”
Stephen Metcalfe MP offers open invitation to visit World War I exhibition

Local MP Stephen Metcalfe has today invited members of the public to visit the First World War commemorative project “ Forget Never, Oublier Jamais, Vergessen Niemals” that will be launched at The Green Centre, Wat Tyler Country Park on Saturday 27th September.

Stephen said: “I launched this collaborative project in Parliament earlier in the year and have since been working with Basildon Heritage Group and others to create a truly memorable local exhibition that will stand as a reminder of the sacrifices made 100 years ago.”

“The unique nature of this project, as recognised by the Lottery Heritage Fund who have awarded us over £50,000, is that it also brings together Basildon with our two Twin Towns of Meaux in France and Heiligenhaus in Germany to create a mobile, tri-lingual exhibition. Over the next four years the exhibition will grow as it travels to France and Germany as well as all corners of the Borough.”

He continued: “It will explore life in the three townships; attitudes from 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.”

“Local schools have been putting together some work for display as have other community groups and organisations. Basildon Heritage have spent the last two years researching facts and information about local people who fell during the conflict one hundred years ago and there will be material from surrounding area archives and historical groups.”

Stephen finished: “We all have a duty to learn of the experiences of those who live through the perils of war and this project will be an excellent way to do this for people of all ages. There are plenty of ways for people to contribute, and I encourage people of all ages to do so. Most importantly, I encourage everyone to come along on the day and not miss the chance to get involved in this unique event for the local area”.

The exhibition will be open between 11am and 5pm at the Green Centre of Wat Tyler Country Park. People can keep up to date with this event and many more opportunities to engage with the history of the war by visiting the project’s website at or can contacting the Project Manager Lisa Smith on 07970 332 097.

Monday, 8 September 2014

Stephen Metcalfe MP speaks out against Labour’s plans for unfunded spending

Local MP Stephen Metcalfe has today spoken out against Labour’s recent pledges for £21 billion more unfunded and ineffective spending.

Stephen Metcalfe commented: “What Labour do not mention is that the money they have pledged to spend will be paid for by families up and down the country.

The latest figures show that the cost to working households would be £1,235 each, totalling a cost of £2 billion for working households across the East of England and £2.9 billion across the South East. Labour’s proposals would be hugely detrimental to our area and I would not want to see this affect my local constituents.”

The recent attempts by Labour to gain credibility on the economy are matched against the latest figures which show that since the Conservatives have been in Government, growth has been at 8.1 per cent.

Stephen Metcalfe remarked: “In real terms, what this means is more businesses creating jobs, with more families having the security of a regular pay packet.

Despite this, Labour continue to demonstrate that it still has not learned its lesson and risk reversing all of the progress that the Conservative long term economic plan has achieved. We must not allow this to happen.” 

Thursday, 4 September 2014

Stephen Metcalfe MP hails success of local businesses in Parliament

Local MP Stephen Metcalfe has yesterday, during Prime Minister’s questions, hailed the successes of local businesses in bringing down unemployment in Basildon and Thurrock.

Stephen Metcalfe rose to the floor and asked: “Will the Prime Minister join me in congratulating all the businesses in Basildon and Thurrock, who have over the last year reduced unemployment by 36% in my constituency. And does he agree with me that this is evidence that our long term economic plan is working”

The Prime Minister joined Stephen Metcalfe with his praise of local businesses and highlighted how the success in South Basildon and East Thurrock reflects the trend across the country. Since the Conservatives have been in Government, 1.8 million more people are now in work, bringing unemployment down to a 6 year low.

The Prime Minister added that the recent news on GDP figure revisions “shows that since 2010, this country has grown faster than France, faster than Germany, faster than any major economy, apart from Canada and the United States of America.”

Stephen Metcalfe commented: “It is great to see the benefits of our economic plan being felt by people across the Basildon and Thurrock area and I was delighted to be able to bring the achievements of those in my local constituency to the attention of the House of Commons today.”

Wednesday, 3 September 2014

Stephen Metcalfe MP raises concerns over migration benefits tourism in Parliament

Local MP Stephen Metcalfe has raised the concerns of local constituents in Parliamentary questions to the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions.

Addressing the Secretary of State, Stephen Metcalfe rose to the floor and asked to know: “what steps he is taking to limit the availability of benefits to migrants from other EU member states”.

The Secretary of State replied with the reassurance that: Since January, EU jobseekers have not been able to claim jobseeker’s allowance until they have been in the country for at least three months and can then claim for only a maximum of six months. Shortly, we will further limit the claim time from six months to three months. In addition, EU jobseekers cannot now claim housing benefit.

Stephen Metcalfe went on to highlight that the number of non-UK nationals claiming working age benefits was falling and asked the Secretary of State to do all he can to ensure that that trend continues.

Mr Duncan Smith replied: “My hon. Friend raises an interesting point. Overall the total number of national insurance number registrations to adult overseas nationals is down by more than 7,000 on the year, or 1%. NINo registrations from outside the EU are down by 30,000 on the year, or 17%, and outside the EU annual registrations to all world areas have fallen to the lowest level since records began in 2002.”

Speaking later in the day about the issue, Stephen Metcalfe commented: “Given the importance of this issue to my local constituents, I am dedicated to ensuring that the fairness of our immigration system is raised in Parliament.

It is vital that migrants should contribute to this country, and not be drawn here by the attractiveness of our benefits system. I am glad to see that these measures are being taken and I am pleased how seriously the Government are taking the concerns of the British people.”