Thursday, 30 October 2014

Stephen Metcalfe MP: jobseekers continue to fall across South Basildon and East Thurrock

The latest figures published by the Office of National Statistics has shown that following the trend of recent months, the number of people claiming jobseeker’s allowance has continued to fall across the local area.

According to these latest numbers, the number of Jobseeker's Allowance claimants in South Basildon and East Thurrock constituency in September 2014 was 1,377.

This means that overall, the number of claimants is 803 lower than in September 2013 and 46 lower than in August 2014.

Stephen Metcalfe commented: “I am so pleased so see that every month brings even further evidence of the great impact our long-term economic plan is having on our local community.

The Conservatives understand that for families, it is jobs and employment that counts. That is why we are committed to ensuring that we continue to deliver the economic changes that Britain needs.”

Wednesday, 29 October 2014

Stephen Metcalfe MP speaks out against ‘ridiculous’ European Union charges

Local MP Stephen Metcalfe has today spoken out against the recent €2bn bill levied against the United Kingdom by the EU, slamming it as ‘ridiculous’.

Stephen Metcalfe’s comments follow a recent demand from the European Union, that Britain increases its financial contribution by a December 1 deadline.

Stephen Metcalfe said: “I am glad to see the Prime Minister echoing the sentiments of the British people on these ridiculous European Union charges.”

“We must continue to speak out against this kind of appalling behaviour on the EU’s part and I will be calling on the Government to refuse to pay this absurd bill.”

“Clearly with the promise of a referendum, the Conservatives are the only party committed to bringing our relationship with the European Union under new terms, standing up for British interests, and giving real choice to the British people.”

Monday, 27 October 2014

Stephen Metcalfe MP: welcomes new apprenticeship figures in Basildon and Thurrock

Local MP Stephen Metcalfe has welcomed new figures showing 760 new apprenticeships were started by people in the South Basildon & East Thurrock constituency last year. In total, 3320 new apprenticeships have been started in South Basildon & East Thurrock since 2010.

Across England more than 1.9 million apprenticeships have been started since 2010 – with the number of apprenticeships having more than doubled in this parliament.

As the Prime Minister announced on Monday a future Conservative government would go even further: making a £1 billion commitment to deliver 3 million apprenticeships by 2020 and end youth unemployment, funded by reducing the maximum amount that can be claimed on benefits from £26,000 to £23,000, and limiting young people’s access to housing benefit.

Stephen Metcalfe commented: “These latest figures are great news. Under the Conservatives, more and more young people are getting the skills they need for their future careers.

Youth unemployment as a whole is down 253,000 over the past year, the largest annual fall since records began.

And I am pleased to see that a future Conservative government would go even further, with a £1 billion commitment to deliver 3 million apprenticeships by 2020 and to put an end to youth unemployment.

By making sure, as part of our long-term economic plan, we deliver the best schools and skills for young people the Conservatives are ensuring the next generation have the skills and opportunities they’ll need to get a good job – so they can have a brighter, more secure future ahead of them.”

Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Stephen Metcalfe MP: reminding Parliament about the risks of civilian casualties

Local MP Stephen Metcalfe has stood before Parliament this week to seek assurances from the Government over the contribution that the UK is making towards the international effort against ISIL and safety of air strikes with regard to potential civilian casualties.

Stephen Metcalfe, addressing Defence Secretary Michael Fallon, asked: “I accept that there are no guarantees, but will my right hon. Friend assure the House that all measures will be taken to avoid civilian casualties from air strikes?”

The Defence Secretary replied: “Yes, the United Kingdom seeks to avoid civilian casualties. All air strikes are conducted under UK rules of engagement, which I have agreed for this campaign in accordance with the law.

Close observation, careful selection and approval of targets before a strike, and the use of precision weapons, such as Brimstone and Paveway, minimise collateral damage and the potential for civilian casualties, in stark contrast with ISIL’s complete disregard for human life.”

Stephen Metcalfe, commenting today, said: “I believe it is vital that the UK plays a role in the international effort, and in doing so, we are sending a clear message that Britain along with its allies, will not tolerate the murderous and extremist campaign of ISIL in the Middle East.

However, we must do everything we can to ensure the safety of the innocent civilians in these regions, and to use our armed forces responsibly and effectively. I am pleased to hear that the Government is committed to this responsibility as Britain works for greater security in these troubled regions.

Stephen Metcalfe MP: Conservatives helping people find an affordable home in Basildon and Thurrock

Local MP Stephen Metcalfe has today welcomed the latest figures which show that Conservatives are delivering new affordable homes for families across Basildon and Thurrock.

In Thurrock, 480 new affordable homes have been delivered since 2010, while in Basildon, the number is even greater, with 780 homes being delivered under the Conservatives.

Thanks to the Conservatives long-term economic plan, over 200,000 new affordable homes have been built across England since 2010; Britain is now building more homes than at any time since 2007. A future Conservative government would deliver 100,000 new homes, available with a 20 per cent discount, exclusively for first-time buyers under the age of 40.

This is in contrast with Labour’s record in government of falling housebuilding and a reduction in the number of social homes to rent by 420,000.

Stephen Metcalfe commented: “We inherited from Labour falling levels of housebuilding which meant families looking for a good quality, affordable home were unable to find one.

Thanks to the Conservatives long-term economic plan Britain is building again with housebuilding now at its highest level since 2007 and 230,000 new homes given planning permission in the last year.

Our Help to Buy schemes alone, which help people to access an affordable mortgage with only a 5 per cent deposit, have already helped over 50,000 families buy their own home, with over 80 per cent of sales going to first time buyers.

A Conservative government after the next election would go further, delivering 100,000 new starter homes, for first-time buyers only, which will be 20 per cent cheaper than the market price, helping more people own their own home.

The only way to continue building the homes Britain needs is to stick to our long-term economic plan. The biggest threat to housebuilding is a Labour government that would bring back top-down planning, imposes more taxes and regulation on the housing market and make it harder for families to buy a home.”

Monday, 20 October 2014

Stephen Metcalfe MP: supports campaign to bring £50m funding to improve workforce skills

Local MP Stephen Metcalfe has shown his support for a National Consortium of Colleges and Providers (NCCP) campaign to alert British businesses to the potential £50m of funding available to provide basic literacy and numeracy training in the workplace.

Some of the biggest names in Basic Skills provision have launched the major national campaign, named ‘For Business, For Life’. Together, as the NCCP, they are reaching out to business leaders in every sector to tell them about the advantages of their employees receiving training in English and maths. In addition to acquiring more confident and ambitious workers, the vast majority will receive government funding for the training. It will cost them nothing.1

For the first time, funding is now available for all businesses, from start-ups to FTSE100 giants, to bring English and maths into the workplace at no cost to themselves.1 And for small businesses, there is a cash incentive to improve their employees' skills.

Stephen Metcalfe commented: “It is so important that employers are made aware of every opportunity available to help benefit and improve their workforces.

The training and improving of these skills will not only benefit businesses, but also perform a huge social good to people up and down the country, who for one reason or another have fallen out of step with some of the most basic of life skills.

I encourage all interested employers to visit the NCCP website at and have a look at this incredible opportunity.”

1Subject to meeting criteria

Stephen Metcalfe MP: slams Labour for being out of touch on Human Rights

Local MP Stephen Metcalfe has today hit out against Labour’s criticism of the Conservative plans to bring Human Rights laws back under the control of the United Kingdom.

Stephen Metcalfe’s words follow recent comments made on the Labour candidate for South Basildon and East Thurrock, which equated the Conservative view as one of ‘extremism’.

Stephen Metcalfe commented: “I’m quite frankly saddened by these comments. To equate our views with that of ‘extremism’ demonstrates the level to which Labour are truly out of touch with the British people’s sentiments on the issue.”

“This country has a long standing tradition of championing human rights and the respect for individual freedoms across the globe. However, this does not mean that we should allow Brussels to use human rights to impose the European Union’s will on the democratically elected Parliament of the UK.”

“Our observance of human rights therefore, should take place through the introduction of a British Bill of Rights, meaning that in the future, the European Court could no longer force the UK to change its laws.”

“The European Court of Human Rights, in Strasbourg, has extended its remit by going into areas which have little to do with real human rights issues. The Conservative party is committed to putting Britain first and restoring common sense to human rights in this country.”

Thursday, 16 October 2014

Stephen Metcalfe MP hails success of National Citizen Service for Essex youths

Local MP Stephen Metcalfe has today spoken on the successful and inspiring projects undertaken by teenagers across Essex with the government’s National Citizen Service (NCS).

This year, more than a thousand 16 and 17 years olds from Essex, including the Basildon and Thurrock area took part in the nationwide youth project, benefitting local communities and inspiring and developing new skills in our young people.

Stephen Metcalfe commented: “I am immensely proud of all of the young people who took part in this summer’s NCS programme. The staff at NCS East have done a great job in developing a programme that is great fun, but which also develops our teenagers into responsible and inspired adults.

This year, they have been involved in care home improvements, seafront clean ups and many other kinds of positive social action including helping out at the Papworth Trust Centre in Witchards. In addition to this, all graduates of the scheme receive a certificate signed by the Prime Minister, demonstrating their achievements.

I encourage schools, colleges, parents and all young people across Essex to get involved, and discover what time spent with the NCS could do for them.”

With the NCS East Autumn programme fast approaching, now is a great time to get involved. Those who are interested in finding out more about the NCS in Essex should visit the website at:

Stephen Metcalfe MP: praises Citizen’s Advice Bureau’s impact on nations mental health
Stephen Metcalfe MP has today, on World Mental Health Day, remarked on the crucial role that the Citizen’s Advice Bureau plays in providing reassurance and improving the mental health of people up and down the country.

New national research from Citizens Advice has found that 2 in 3 Citizens Advice clients feel stressed, depressed or anxious as a result of the problem they came to the charity for help about.

After getting advice however, 4 in 5 people said they felt their mental wellbeing improved as a result of the help they received.

Stephen Metcalfe commented: “This new research goes to show just how crucial the Citizens Advice staff and volunteers are in providing reassurance to those in difficult and challenging circumstances.

I echo all calls this World Mental Health Day, for those with debt, benefit and employment problems to seek out advice and get help.

As we become more aware of the mental health challenges that many people face, we should recognise those services that day in and day out provide a helping hand to thousands.

Wednesday, 15 October 2014

Stephen Metcalfe MP Says Sorry!

Local MP Stephen Metcalfe has today apologised to his constituents that he will not be available this Friday as he would usually hope to be. The reason: He is required to be in Parliament to support his colleague Bob Neill MP as he presents his EU referendum Bill to the House of Commons.

The EU Referendum Bill would enshrine in law the requirement that the next Government hold a straight forward, simple In/Out referendum on our relationship with Europe and our membership of the European Union.

Stephen Metcalfe said: “Unfortunately, as we found last year when we tried to do the same thing, both the Lib Dems and Labour oppose the Bill and do not trust the public to make an informed decision and want to deny them a say on this important issue.”

he continued: “If the Bill becomes law, by the time of the Referendum, there will be no-one under the age of 60 who has ever had a say on our relationship with the EU or the opportunity to vote on the issue. This is totally unacceptable, which is why I am determined to do all I can to help the Bill get through the House of Commons.”

“I am therefore sorry that I will not be around on Friday, but until my political opponents trust the electorate it falls to me to champion this once in a generation opportunity.”