Thursday, 17 September 2015

Stephen Metcalfe MP wears it pink for breast cancer awareness

Stephen Metcalfe, MP for South Basildon & East Thurrock has shown his support for women with breast cancer by dressing up in pink and encouraging his constituents to take part in Breast Cancer Now’s flagship fundraiser, wear it pink, on Friday 23rd October.

wear it pink, the UK’s biggest pink fundraiser, calls on supporters across the country to ditch the day-to-day colours and pull on some pink to raise money for Breast Cancer Now’s life-saving breast cancer research. 

Stephen Metcalfe joined fellow parliamentarians in wearing it pink in Westminster this week to encourage people across the UK to get involved. Now in its 14th year, wear it pink raises over £2 million each year for world-class research into breast cancer, and this year it is back and bigger, brighter and bolder than ever before.

Anyone can take part, whether in school, at work or at home. All you have to do is wear something pink and donate whatever you can.

Stephen Metcalfe said: “Right now breast cancer is at a tipping point. Every year in the UK around 50,000 women are diagnosed with breast cancer, and sadly nearly 12,000 women still lose their lives to the disease. This is why we all must come together to support Breast Cancer Now’s cutting-edge research, and, in wear it pink, there is a fun and simple way for everyone to get involved.”

“Together, we can make a big difference for women with breast cancer, now and in the future; I hope everyone in the local community will join me in wearing it pink on Friday 23 October and show their support for Breast Cancer Now.”

Launched in June 2015 with the ambition of ensuring that no one dies from the disease by 2050, Breast Cancer Now is the UK’s largest breast cancer charity, created by the merger of Breast Cancer Campaign and Breakthrough Breast Cancer.

This is a day when we stand out, stand together and stand for something: wear it pink on Friday 23 October to support Breast Cancer Now’s life-saving research. For more information or to register for wear it pink visit www.wearitpink.org

Wednesday, 16 September 2015

Stephen Metcalfe MP welcomes new Help to Buy figures

Stephen Metcalfe, the local MP for South Basildon and East Thurrock has today welcomed the latest Help to Buy figures, which show that the scheme has helped 207 people buy their own home in South Basildon and East Thurrock.

Help to Buy was introduced by the Conservatives to help working people doing the right thing and saving for a deposit to achieve their aspiration of buying their own home. Across the country, Help to Buy has now enabled nearly 120,000 families to buy a new home, less than three years since it was launched. 80 per cent of those helped are first-time buyers – realising the dream of owning their own home – and 95 per cent of completions have been outside of London.

The Chancellor has now said that the stronger economy and financial system means the Government expects banks to start to exit the Help to Buy Mortgage scheme, which was introduced in times of financial distress and will come to an end next year in any case.

The Help to Buy shared equity scheme continues to go from strength to strength and the new Help to Buy ISA the Government is launching in December will provide generous support to those saving for their first home by providing a government boost on their deposit.

Stephen Metcalfe commented: “Conservatives are committed to helping working people achieve the aspiration of buying their own home and our Help to Buy scheme has now helped 207 families to buy their own home in South Basildon and East Thurrock.”

“The stronger economy and financial system means the Government expects banks to start to exit our Help to Buy Mortgage scheme, and it was introduced in times of financial distress and will come to an end next year in any case.”

“The Help to Buy shared equity scheme goes from strength to strength and our new Help to Buy ISA we’re launching in December will provide generous support to those saving for their first home by providing a government boost on their deposit.”

“Supporting people who want to work hard, save and buy their own home is a key part of the Conservatives’ long term plan to provide economic security for working people at every stage of their life, across the UK.”

Friday, 14 August 2015

Stephen Metcalfe MP backs ‘Farm to Fork’ project in Pitsea

Local MP Stephen Metcalfe has attended the ‘Farm to Fork’ initiative as part of Tesco’s ‘Eat Happy Project’ in the local Pitsea Tesco Store to help engage children on the issues of food and dietary health.

The nationwide project run by Tesco looks to engage schools, farms and factories so that children can discover for themselves where their food comes from as well as learning basic cooking skills.

Stephen Metcalfe commented: “It was great fun helping the children learn about and prepare some great food for themselves.”

“It is so important that initiatives such as this are a success. The health and wellbeing of our children is of paramount importance. The earlier we start with getting our young people interested in their food and where it comes from, the more likely they are to have better relationships with food in adulthood.”

Since the project has started in Basildon, 1800 children have attended and benefitted from the scheme – and over 900,000 children nationwide have been on one of the ‘Farm to Fork Trails’.

To find out more about the project, you can visit the website at www.eathappyproject.com

Wednesday, 29 July 2015

Stephen Metcalfe MP joins Basildon Hospital Radio for live launch of new requests show

Stephen Metcalfe, the local MP for South Basildon and East Thurrock has appeared live on local Basildon Hospital Radio (BHR1287am) as a special guest. The show served as a commemoration of a new joint broadcast by the hospital radio and local radio station, Gateway 97.8.

The new broadcast will be held on the last Sunday of every month and will feature song requests from those inside the hospital to their friends and loved ones outside and in the community. The programme will also allow local residents to send messages and requests for their loved ones inside the hospital.

Stephen Metcalfe, featuring live on the first programme of the series, read out some of the requests and also chatted to the host and chairman of Basildon Hospital Radio, Jacqui James.

Stephen Metcalfe commented: “I had a great time reading out some of the wonderful requests and dedications sent into Basildon Hospital Radio. This new joint project with Gateway 97.8 is a great idea and will further build on the important role that the radio plays within the hospital community.”

“I am so pleased to have played a role as special guest in the launching of this new programme and I am very excited for the Hospital Radio, as it continues to expand and grow its audience.”

Tuesday, 21 July 2015

Stephen Metcalfe MP hears of Pegasus Club’s future plans

Stephen Metcalfe, local MP for South Basildon and East Thurrock has recently visited the Pegasus Club again and heard from the new owners about their plans to breathe new life in to the facility.

As many will know, The Pegasus Club was sold when Coryton Oil Refinery went bust in 2012. Initially a small group of local activist, with the support of Stephen Metcalfe, tried to find a way of securing the club as a community asset, but unfortunately it was not to be and ultimately the club was sold and then closed for a number of months.

Described by Stephen Metcalfe MP, as “East Thurrock’s hidden jewel”, the Pegasus Club has now re-opened and is trying hard to re-establish itself as a community sports and social hub open to everyone in the area.

Stephen Metcalfe commented: “I was pleased to hear the news that the Pegasus Club has attracted the investment required to preserve it for the use of the local community and now want to ensure it has a long term future in its current format.”

“The Pegasus Club really is the hidden jewel of East Thurrock, and it offers beautiful views and landscapes to those who take the time to come and visit it”.

“Now, for the club to have a future they need to win back members and encourage the community and local residents to come and make use of the Club.”

To achieve this, The Pegasus Club are holding a variety of upcoming events, including open days, live music evenings and activities for Children. There are also ambitious plans for links with businesses and international partners abroad in order to truly put the Pegasus Club back on the map.

Those who are interested in getting involved or finding out more about the Pegasus Club can do so by visiting the official website at: www.pegasuscountryclub.net

Wednesday, 15 July 2015

Stephen Metcalfe MP congratulates local award winning teacher in the House of Commons

Stephen Metcalfe, the local MP for South Basildon and East Thurrock has attended an event in Parliament to congratulate local teacher Mrs Sharon Wilson, from South Quadrant Children’s Support Services, for winning a Silver Pearson Teaching Award.

The Pearson Teaching Awards are an annual celebration and recognition of excellence in education. The Pearson Teaching Awards website states that: ‘The Teaching Awards offers everyone the opportunity to say “thank you”, to the teacher who has helped them most.  Anyone can take part, children, students, parents, grandparents and colleagues can all go online and thank you.  In return, we will send a thank you card to each and every person or team of people who is thanked. Every “thank you”, then becomes a nomination for a Teaching Award.’

Stephen Metcalfe commented: “It was a great privilege to see such a hardworking and dedicated education professional in the local area be recognised for her achievements. Sharon Wilson has been rightly awarded the Award for Lifetime Achievement for the truly life changing work she has done in my constituency”.

“The Pearson Teaching Awards are a hugely important occasion where we recognise how crucial teaching professionals are in helping to provide opportunity and support to our young people.”

Those interested in finding out more about the Pearson Teaching Awards can visit the website at www.pearsonteachingawards.com

Tuesday, 14 July 2015

New National Lottery investment in First World War Centenary 

One year from the Battle of the Somme Centenary, Stephen Metcalfe urges South Basildon and East Thurrock communities to apply for new £4m Heritage Lottery Fund money to explore the impact of the war

On Wednesday 8th July, Stephen Metcalfe, MP for South Basildon and East Thurrock attended a House of Commons event hosted by the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF), to find out how people from their constituency can secure new National Lottery money to help them mark the Centenary of the First World War.

Following the phenomenal success of its community grants programme First World War: then and now, HLF has made an additional £4million available in 2015/16 for communities looking to explore, conserve and share local heritage of the First World War.  Grants are available between £3,000 to £10,000.

Thanks to National Lottery funding, thousands of young people and communities throughout the UK have already been involved in activities marking the Centenary such as: researching and recording local heritage; conserving and finding out more about war memorials; and using digital technology to share the fascinating stories they uncover.  This new money will help even more people get involved to explore a greater range of stories including those surrounding the Battle of the Somme.

Stephen Metcalfe said: “The projects and stories I’ve seen here today have been an inspiration.  It’s so important that we remember the impact of this war one hundred years on.    There is still time to apply for National Lottery money and I would urge anyone in South Basildon and East Thurrock with an idea for their own project to get in touch with HLF.”    

Sir Peter Luff, Chair of the HLF, said: “The demand for National Lottery funding for First World War projects has been phenomenal, so much so we’ve decided to make extra money available. This will mean everyone, in particular more young people, can explore the momentous events of a war that shaped our nation, Europe and the world. Next year marks the centenary of the Battle of Somme and if groups want support for projects in 2016, they need to start thinking about applying now.”
 
The event showcased just a handful of over 1,000 First World War projects taking place across the UK, thanks to more than £70million of investment from HLF.  

Projects on display showed the breadth and scale of First World War stories being explored and shared across the country:

•   Local people from Tottenham and Walthamstow in London showed how they have been exploring their family history to see if any of their relatives fought in the war;

•   Young people from North Tyneside demonstrated how they have been using social media to retell the stories of local soldiers; and

•   Young women in Birmingham shared what they have been uncovering about the experiences of women who worked in factories during the conflict in particularly the Birmingham Small Arms factory in Small Heath.

More information on how to apply for HLF funding is available at www.hlf.org.uk
Stephen Metcalfe MP: pledges to champion autism in South Basildon & East Thurrock

Stephen Metcalfe, the local MP for South Basildon and East Thurrock at a reception at the Houses of Parliament, has pledged to promote more autism awareness in the constituency.

Stephen Metcalfe MP with 
President of the National Autistic Society, Jane Asher.
Stephen Metcalfe, a member of the All-party Parliamentary Group on Autism (APPGA), met local families and heard moving testimonies from people living with autism, a lifelong condition which affects over 3,000 people in every Parliamentary constituency. 

Stephen Metcalfe commented: “I was very moved by what I heard today when listening to people living with autism. More than 1 in 100 people in the UK have the condition and many have battled to get their needs identified, diagnosed, understood and then met. “

“We heard how negative public attitudes and misconceptions about autism can harm families and individuals and limit their opportunities.”

“I plan to actively promote more awareness in Basildon and Thurrock to improve access to public spaces, employment and services. This will enable more people living with autism to play an active role in their community and to achieve their full potential.”   

The event was attended by nearly one hundred Parliamentarians and President of the National Autistic Society, Jane Asher, who said: “Awareness of the word autism has increased dramatically since I first became involved many years ago, but understanding of this complex condition is still desperately low, that’s why I'm very grateful that so many Parliamentarians came to the event. 

“Parliamentarians have the power to make a real change in the lives of those with autism by helping us to spread understanding among their local communities. I do hope they will work with us in trying to make the world a more welcoming place for those affected and their families."  

Chair of the APPGA, Rt. Hon. Cheryl Gillan MP, said: “I am delighted to have been elected Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Autism, a cross-party grouping of 200 MPs and Members of the House of Lords. There are over 3,000 people in each constituency affected by autism and it’s crucial they all get the right support.”

Monday, 6 July 2015

Stephen Metcalfe MP: joins local school pupils’ campaign

Stephen Metcalfe, local MP for South Basildon and East Thurrock has joined pupils at Hassenbrook Academy to hear about their campaign on the global right to education.

The pupils at Hassenbrook Academy joined the national ‘Send My Friend to School 2015’ campaign which is run by the UK coalition of the Global Campaign for Education. 

The Global Campaign for Education (GCE) is a global organisation working to ensure quality education for all children. It has members in more than 100 countries around the world. You can find out more about GCE around the world at www.campaignforeducation.org. In the UK over twenty charities and teaching unions work together to support education for all as the GCE UK coalition.

As part of their campaign, the year 7 pupils of Hassenbrook Academy, are petitioning the Prime Minister on issue of global access to education; something which their local MP Stephen Metcalfe was keen to lend a hand with.

Stephen Metcalfe commented: “It is very encouraging to see so many children care about important global issues, and have an active role in taking positive action.”

“That is why I was so keen to show my support for the pupils and school, who have become involved in such an important cause. Campaign for Education do incredible work raising awareness about the importance of education globally and I am so pleased that so many local pupils have become involved”.

Monday, 29 June 2015

Stephen Metcalfe MP judges annual Children’s Art Competition at Wat Tyler Country Park


Stephen Metcalfe, the local MP for South Basildon and East Thurrock attended and judged the Children’s Art Competition at War Tyler Country Park.

The competition, now an annual event in the local community, is organised by Lisa Smith and the Laboratory Art Studio.

This year’s theme was the ‘Battle of Britain versus the Battle of Waterloo’, and included three categories, including:  ages 4-7, ages 8-11, and 12+.

Stephen Metcalfe commented: “It was great fun to attend and judge this year’s annual Laboratory Art Studio Children’s Art Competition."

“All of the entries were very unique and it was particularly interesting to see all of the children’s different interpretations of such a particularly poignant theme.”

“All of the entries were a huge credit to the talent and dedication of the local children we have here in the area.”

Stephen Metcalfe, was also joined by two others judges, Jo Cullen and Sue Barnfield.

Thursday, 25 June 2015

Stephen Metcalfe MP takes part in National Care Home Open Day in Basildon 

Stephen Metcalfe, the local MP for South Basildon and East Thurrock, has visited Basildon’s Oaklands and Cameron House care homes as part of the National Care Home Open Day.

Care Home Open Day is a UK wide initiative inviting care homes to open their doors to their local communities.

Thousands of care homes across the UK take part each year, welcoming the public and arranging events and activities that help to create lasting links between care home residents and their local communities.

On his two visits, Stephen Metcalfe had a chance to meet the staff and residents, and talk about politics and issues relating to the care sector.


Stephen Metcalfe, speaking after the day’s events, commented: “It was great to take part in National Care Home Open Day in Basildon. I had a lot of fun meeting the residents and all of the hardworking staff at Oaklands Care Home in Langdon Hills and Cameron House in Pitsea.”


“National Care Home Open Day is a great opportunity for various care homes across the country to open their doors to local communities. I believe it is a great opportunity, not just for the residents, but also for the rest of the public. It is important that we all learn as much as we can about the issues that affect our great care sector”. 

Those who would like to find out more about National Care Home Open Day, can visit the website at: www.nationalcarehomeopenday.org.uk
Stephen Metcalfe MP pledges support to Royal Life Saving Society UK

Stephen Metcalfe, local MP for South Basildon and East Thurrock has pledged his support to Royal Life Saving Society UK, after the charity’s trip to Westminster.


The Royal Life Saving Society UK sent representatives to Westminster Palace ahead of its annual national campaign, Drowning Prevention Week which this year runs from June 20th to June 28th. They hoped to gain the support of MPs, so they in turn can support their constituents with drowning prevention messages. 


Throughout the afternoon, CPR workshops and water safety advice sessions were held, where the RLSS UK invited Stephen Metcalfe MP to find out more about the charity and how best he can support his constituents. Stephen Metcalfe MP then signed the RLSS UK’s pledge ‘to support RLSS UK in their aim to reduce the rate of drownings in the UK’.

Stephen Metcalfe commented: “RLSS UK is an incredibly important charity, and the lifesaving work they do across the country is of tremendous value. Accidental drowning is a huge tragedy when it occurs, and it is so important we do everything we can to minimise how often it occurs here in the UK.”

“The RLSS UK do incredible work educating current and future generations so that they are more informed about potential risks – and I am so glad to be supporting them”.


RLSS UK Chief Executive, Di Steer, said: “The number of accidental drowning incidences has, over the last few years, reached a plateau of around 400. There is no quick fix to get this number down further. There are many at-risk groups for many different reasons. Education to instil a change in behaviour is considered the only method that will reach the final 400, as well as future generations, and help prevent these tragic deaths and accidents.


“We can’t do it alone. We need everyone’s help to raise awareness about the reality of accidental drowning, and to get water safety at the forefront of people’s minds.”

Peter Moyes, RLSS UK’s President added to this: “We were overwhelmed with the support offered by MPs during our session on Tuesday and can’t thank Stephen Metcalfe MP enough for pledging to help us in our efforts, not only during Drowning Prevention Week but all year round, especially to get water safety education taught in all schools.”

It cannot be emphasized how important RLSS UK’s work is. Jackie Roberts, the mother of student Megan Roberts, who tragically drowned in the River Ouse in January last year, has been working with RLSS UK on a number of projects. She said: “I am working with the RLSS UK as my daughter’s life meant so much and I want to do something in respect to her, and to prevent further tragedies.” 

“It was great to talk to Stephen Metcalfe MP today and hopefully raise the importance of the charity’s work and the importance of water safety education.”

To prevent further tragedies and loss of life, such as the drowning of Megan Roberts, RLSS UK’s main goal is to promote drowning prevention messages and deliver water safety education nationally. They work tirelessly to achieve this through various schemes and campaigns, including offering a range of awards and programmes that teach lifesaving skills to all ages, and the national campaign, Drowning Prevention Week.

For more information on the RLSS UK, Drowning Prevention Week 2015, water safety advice or details on lifesaving courses suitable for children and adults -  

Visit the website at www.rlss.org.uk 

Follow them on Twitter - @RLSSUK

Visit their Facebook page - www.facebook.com/RLSSUK

Thursday, 18 June 2015

Stephen Metcalfe MP celebrates work of Citizens Advice in South Basildon & East Thurrock

Stephen Metcalfe, local Member of Parliament for South Basildon and East Thurrock has this week attended an event in Parliament to thank the staff and volunteers of the Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB) for the work they do for local residents.

At the event, Mr Metcalfe met people from across the Citizens Advice service. He also learnt about the invaluable insight local Citizens Advice have about problems experienced by his constituents.

The Citizens Advice service provides free confidential and impartial advice to people in Basildon & Thurrock face to face and over the telephone.  There is also a national website providing advice online, over email and via a web chat from www.citizensadvice.org.uk

Common issues reported to the local Citizens Advice include queries about benefits, debt problems, employment and housing.   

Nationally the Citizens Advice service helps 2.5 million people a year with 6.2 million issues.

Evidence from the charity shows Citizens Advice helps to solve two in three people’s problems.  Where problems can’t be fully resolved Citizens Advice will work with relevant local and national organisations to help sort out systemic issues.

Stephen Metcalfe, at the event, commented: “The Citizens Advice service does a great job in helping people solve their problems, and developing the skills and confidence people need to help themselves.  As the local member of Parliament, I’m keen to work closely with Citizens Advice to make sure people get access to the help they need and tackle any local issues together.” 

“Volunteers are the bedrock of the Citizens Advice service. I’d like to thank the people in South Basildon & East Thurrock who give up their own time to help others and recognise their contribution to our local community.”

Citizens Advice Chief Executive Gillian Guy said: “The right advice and support can transform lives. Local Citizens Advice solve the problems for two in three of our clients, and empower people to develop the skills and confidence they need to help themselves.”

“It’s really important that people are able to access free and impartial advice as and when they need it, whether face to face, over the phone or online.  We’re pleased to work with MPs to help them solve their constituents’ problems and address local and national issues.”
Stephen Metcalfe MP speaks at Dedication of Basildon Church

Stephen Metcalfe, local Member of Parliament for South Basildon and East Thurrock recently attended the dedication of the new Bread of Life Church in Rushley, Basildon following its transfer from the Burnt Mills Hall Trust. 

The hall which had fallen out of use some time ago will now be the permanent home for the Bread of Life Church and will throw its doors open again to the wider community.

During the service, Stephen Metcalfe was invited to address the congregation and spoke on a number of issues, including the importance of community and morality in politics and public life.

Speaking after the event, Stephen said: “This was a very special occasion for the local community and the church. As Member of Parliament, I believe it is vital to support peoples’ efforts to better their communities as the Bread of Life Church is doing in Basildon.”

“I thoroughly enjoyed meeting Pastor Tapiwamunashe Nduna, and all of the churchgoers today. Their dedication to charity and community is to be highly commended, and it makes me even more proud to be MP for the area”.

“I wish them well for the future and hope that their outreach plans for the area bring Church and community closer together.” 

Wednesday, 17 June 2015

Stephen Metcalfe MP welcomes continued fall in unemployment

Stephen Metcalfe, the local MP for South Basildon and East Thurrock has today welcomed the latest figures showing that since 2010, the number of people in the constituency claiming Job Seeker's Allowance and Universal Credit has fallen by 1,477 – a 57% drop.

Across the UK, there are 2 million more people at work than at the end of thirteen years of Labour Government.

Stephen Metcalfe commented: "I am so pleased to hear of the continued good news for the people of South Basildon and East Thurrock as I return to Parliament as their representative."

"This is down to the hard work and the determination of people here, as well as the Conservatives’ strong leadership and clear economic plan. As a Government for working people we’re committed to go further, as we work towards a Britain of full employment, which offers working people security at every stage of their life."

Around one in 50 people in work are on zero-hours contracts. Unlike the last Labour Government, who did nothing, we have taken action to clamp down on abuses by banning exclusivity contracts. Over the last year 85 per cent of the jobs created have been full-time. Labour always try and tell Britain that all these jobs are part-time, insecure and poorly paid – in fact: "Not only is employment up by 2 million across the UK since 2010, but the total pay is also up by 2.7 per cent too. There are also more women in work than ever before!”

“Labour always try to claim that these jobs are part-time, insecure and poorly paid – when in fact, Over the last year 85 per cent of the jobs created have been full-time. And around one in 50 people in work are on zero-hours contracts. Unlike the last Labour Government, who did nothing, we have taken action to clamp down on abuses by banning exclusivity contracts.”

“The Conservative economic recovery is being felt across all parts of British society – and I am so pleased to see the benefits being felt here by local residents in Basildon and Thurrock."

Tuesday, 16 June 2015

Stephen Metcalfe MP attends St Luke’s Hospice 25th anniversary fete

Stephen Metcalfe, local MP for South Basildon and East Thurrock recently attended the St Luke’s Hospice fete in celebration of their 25th anniversary.
Stephen with Trudy Westmore-Cox, Patron and Founder of St Luke’s Hospice

At the event, awareness was being raised on a whole range of important issues, including healthy living and how St Luke’s Hospice provides care in the local community. The fete was also supported by Ford Motor Co, Warley & Staff at Marks and Spencer, Basildon. 

Stephen Metcalfe has been very keen to help champion the cause of St Luke’s Hospice during his time as Member of Parliament, and is always eager to attend their events and to show his support for this excellent local charity.

Stephen Metcalfe at the event, commented: “I have had great fun getting involved in all of the events today, and I even won something on the ring toss! But there was an important message to the day as well, St Luke’s has over the years touched many people’s lives but it is at a cost. The Hospice needs to raise over £4m a year to keep going, which through the dedication of its staff and volunteers it has now managed to do for 25 years.”

“I therefore want to congratulate them on their work, thank them for what they do and for as long as I am MP, pledge to support their work and encourage others to do the same.”
Stephen Metcalfe MP in visit to Briscoe Primary School

Stephen Metcalfe, local MP for South Basildon and East Thurrock recently visited Briscoe Primary School to see the results of its improvements over the last few years. During his visit, as well as hearing about how children’s lives are being turnaround by the improved teaching, Mr Metcalfe also heard about the school’s plans to create a new 11-16 school. Cordium School (as it will be named) is aiming to take its first students from September 2016.

Stephen Metcalfe commented: “I very much enjoyed hearing Briscoe’s plans for a new 11-16 school. Their enthusiasm for the project is unmatched and I commend their ambition for providing a useful addition to the educational landscape in Basildon”.

“They have now put in an application to the Department for Education and I wish them well as they continue to build on their incredible record of serving the local community and improving students educational outcomes.”

Mr Metcalfe also had time during his visit to meet and greet many of the pupils, including a visit to a music lesson where the violin and cello sections of the school orchestra where being put through their paces.” 

Stephen Metcalfe commented: “I had a very informative and rewarding visit and look forward to hearing the outcome of their application for a free school as well as returning to the school soon to continue to hear how they are helping my constituents reach their full potential.” 

Those interested in the proposed new school, can visit www.cordiumschool.co.uk

Thursday, 11 June 2015

Stephen Metcalfe MP calls on Prime Minister to back UK science

Stephen Metcalfe, the MP for South Basildon and East Thurrock has called on the Prime Minister to support UK science and fight for increased funding to the British scientific community.

Stephen Metcalfe who has recently announced his intention to stand for chairmanship of the prestigious Parliamentary Science and Technology Committee has been keen to champion the cause of the UK science community throughout his time as MP – and has been increasingly vocal about the need to include the technology industry as part of the Government’s economic plan.

Rising to the floor of the House of Commons during discussions following the recent G7 meeting, Stephen Metcalfe, asked the Prime Minister: “One way to deliver on our climate change target (as agreed at the G7) and boost our economy is through the development of new technologies. Will my right hon. Friend therefore commit to supporting our UK science community, fight for an increase in funding around the Cabinet table and pledge to aim towards spending the same percentage of GDP on research and development as our European partners?”

The Prime Minister responded in agreement with Mr Metcalfe’s sentiments, saying: “We have looked very carefully at this in the past and recognise that science is an important part of enhancing the growth, production, productivity and potential of the United Kingdom.”

Stephen Metcalfe, speaking later, commented: “Being MP for South Basildon and East Thurrock, I see first-hand the contribution that the science and technology industries have on the overall British economy. Basildon and Thurrock have a rich history of technological success. 1 in 10 of all the world’s tractors are made locally – and there is not an Airbus A380 that flies, that does not have a part made in Basildon.”

“That is why I am dedicated to calling on the Prime Minister to build on this Government’s already strong record on Science and Industry – and I will continue to do so if I am lucky enough to be elected as Chair of the Science and Technology Committee here in Parliament”.

Wednesday, 10 June 2015

Stephen Metcalfe MP: backs Foster Care Fortnight

Stephen Metcalfe, the local MP for South Basildon and East Thurrock is backing the call for people to come forward and make their connection with fostering during The Fostering Network’s annual Foster Care Fortnight campaign.

This year alone, 8,370 new foster carers are needed right across the UK to ensure that the rising number of children coming into care can have the best chance of find a loving foster family who can not only meet their needs, but help them build a positive future.

Over 63,000 children live with almost 55,000 foster families across the UK each day. There is a particular need for foster carers to look after teenagers, disabled children and sibling groups, with the need for more foster carers meaning that children may end up far from home, be split up from brothers and sisters or lose touch with family and friends.

There are very few barriers to fostering and your local fostering service will provide you all the training and support you need to ensure you can be a foster carer that can change lives. All children are unique, so we need a diverse foster carer population to provide the best home to help each individual child flourish and fulfil their potential.

Stephen Metcalfe commented: “Foster Care Fortnight is a hugely important occasion, because as each year passes, we see more and more children coming into care. It is vital that more people open up their minds and homes to fostering so that children and young people can get crucial support in their lives.”

“I know of some brilliant foster carers here in Basildon and Thurrock, and it is important to use Foster Care Fortnight to recognise all of the work that these people do in supporting children and young people. However, it is also important to use this occasion to raise awareness of the need for more and more people to become involved in fostering.”

Jackie Sanders, director of The Fostering Network, said: “We are absolutely thrilled that Stephen Metcalfe is supporting this year’s Foster Care Fortnight.”

“It shows that they recognise the need to make sure that the children and young people of South Basildon and East Thurrock who most need support, love and care have it.”

If you believe you have the skills and qualities needed to provide a loving home to children and young people in foster care, then find out more by visiting fostering.net
Stephen Metcalfe MP congratulates Woodlands School on reaching National Rocketry Final

Woodlands School runners-up after successful launch of rockets 
South Basildon and East Thurrock students could be the next generation of rocket scientists 

MP for South Basildon and East Thurrock, Stephen Metcalfe MP has congratulated local pupils from Woodlands School on reaching the final of the UK Aerospace Youth Rocketry Challenge which took place at Stow Maries Aerodrome on Wednesday.

Two teams from Woodlands School made it to the final following tough competition and impressive rocket launches. 

As part of the competition, the teams from Woodlands School created their own 65 centimetre rocket, complete with an engine and detonator. Their challenge was to build a rocket that had a clear take-off, achieve  the highest possible altitude and land its crew – a hard-boiled egg – back safely to the ground, without the egg cracking. 

The competition, now in its ninth year, encourages 11-18 year olds to learn more about maths and science and discover exciting future career opportunities in engineering.

Stephen Metcalfe MP said: “Congratulations to Woodlands School on reaching the National Rocketry Final. The UK Aerospace Youth Rocketry Challenge is a great way to encourage our next generation of engineers and scientists and give them hands-on experience. I was delighted to see Woodlands in this year’s final and I hope to see both Woodlands School and other South Basildon and East Thurrock schools compete in next year’s competition.”    

Thursday, 4 June 2015

Stephen Metcalfe MP joins charities in thanks to volunteers

Stephen Metcalfe, the local MP for South Basildon and East Thurrock has joined local and national charities this week to thank volunteers for all the contributions they make. Volunteers’ Week is an annual celebration in recognition of all the hard work volunteers take part in. Events are taking place across the country to mark Volunteers’ Week 2015, which runs from 1-7 June.

Stephen Metcalfe commented: “Volunteers’ week is a very important occasion, as we have so many hardworking and dedicated volunteers here in Basildon and Thurrock, who do tremendous work for the local community.”

“My constituents will all be aware of the amazing work that St Luke’s Hospice does for example. We also have Christian Care Homes and the Thurrock Christian Fellowship trust – as well as the South Essex Gymnastics club, all who rely on the work of volunteers to serve the community.”

“I encourage anyone who is interested, to get in contact with their local charities and to get involved in some of the most rewarding work they will possibly do in their lives. As the volunteers of Basildon and Thurrock will tell us all, there is so much to be gained from giving up your spare time for a cause that you believe in”.

Justin Davis Smith, director of volunteering and development at NCVO, which coordinates Volunteers’ Week in England, said: “Volunteers’ Week is the perfect opportunity to recognise volunteers who put their time, energy and enthusiasm into helping others. Whether it’s clearing out a local park, or helping with a reading club or food bank, volunteers are the social glue keeping our communities together. This week of events across the country will, I hope, show people how much their contribution is valued, and will give MPs an opportunity to see what is going on in their local areas.”

“Last year marked 30 years of Volunteers’ Week celebrations, highlighting how rich our history of social action really is. We hope that this Volunteers’ Week you will join us in saying thank you to everyone who volunteers.”

“This year, as well as thank you events organised by charities, volunteers are being encouraged to share their own stories and motivations on social media using the hashtag #ivolunteer.”

To find out more visit www.volunteersweek.org and follow #volunteersweek and #ivolunteer

Monday, 1 June 2015

Stephen Metcalfe MP backs Residents Association bid to buy Page Wood

Stephen Metcalfe, the local MP for South Basildon and East Thurrock has announced that he will be backing the Bowers Gifford Residents Association in their efforts to buy Page Wood and keep it as a public space.

Having recently become available, the owners of Page Wood have generously offered the Bowers Gifford Residents Association a chance to purchase the space, which up until a few months ago was open to the public. If the Residents Association are successful in their bid to raise the funds to purchase the land, they have committed themselves to serving as Trustees and ensuring that the land will ‘belong to us all’.

Stephen Metcalfe MP, who has previously worked alongside Bowers Gifford Residents Association to successfully stop the development of Little Chalvedon Hall Farm, has now joined the campaign to preserve Page Wood as a public space.

Stephen Metcalfe commented: “I am so pleased to be joining the campaign to preserve Page Wood. While we do have some greenspace in the local area, local residents know that there is very little woodland.”

“This is a rare opportunity to protect Page Wood for this and future generations – and I feel it is my duty as Member of Parliament for the area to help this campaign in any way I can”.

Those interested in the campaign can visit the Bowers Gifford Residents Association website at http://www.bowersgifford.org.uk. The Association is looking for people to contact them with potential pledges as well as any ideas on how to help fundraise.

Friday, 15 May 2015

Stephen Metcalfe MP - hails latest employment figures as Conservatives return to Government

As Stephen Metcalfe, the newly re-elected MP for South Basildon and East Thurock returns to Parliament this week, he has welcomed the latest figures which show that there are now 1,620 fewer people in the constituency claiming Job Seeker's Allowance and Universal Credit compared to 2010. This represents a 59 per cent drop.

Stephen Metcalfe commented: "As I return to Parliament this week to represent the people of South Basildon and East Thurrock, I am so pleased to hear of the continued good news that the efforts of the Conservative Government to get this country back to work is truly paying off for local people."

"Across the United Kingdom, there are now 2.05 million more people in work than at the end of thirteen years of a Labour Government. And that is why the British people last week, decided to give us an increased majority here in Parliament - because they know, that when it comes to the economic security of hard-working families, it is only the Conservative Party who can be trusted to deliver".

"Over the last year, 80 per cent of all jobs created have been full-time - and only around one in 50 people in work currently are on zero-hour contracts! Even in defeat, Labour will try to play down the economic successes of the British people, and we must not let them get away with it."

Monday, 11 May 2015

Stephen Metcalfe returns to Parliament for his first day back

Newly returned to his seat in the House of Commons, Stephen Metcalfe arrived today in Westminster for his first day back following his re-election last week as Member of Parliament for South Basildon and East Thurrock.

Speaking on the day, Stephen said: “I would like to thank the people of South Basildon and East Thurrock for putting their trust in me once again and for returning me as their representative here in Parliament.”

“The last 5 years have truly been a privilege and I cannot wait to get started on all of the plans I have. I am going to be working just as hard throughout this Parliament, and I encourage all of my constituents to always get in contact if there are any issues they wish to discuss or I can be of any assistance with.”

“This year marks the 800th anniversary of the Magna Carta and I want the people of Basildon and Thurrock to be able to play as active a role as possible on this important commemoration. I would therefore also encourage any interested constituents to get in touch to perhaps come and attend Parliament and have a tour during this important year.”

Thursday, 30 April 2015

Calor offers warm welcome to Transport Secretary

Patrick McLoughlin, Secretary of State for Transport today visited the Calor Gas Centre at Coryton today to hear about transport issues and to review the huge amount of investment being made by both Government and Private business in the Thames Gateway.

L-R Stephen Metcalfe, Patrick McLoughlin, Calor site manager –
Alan Harrison and Calor Finance Director – Adam Thompson
Alan Harrison, Customer Operations Manager at Calor’s Coryton site said: “We are delighted to welcome the Secretary of State for Transport to Calor’s Coryton site to witness first-hand our operation and see the contribution we make to the local economy. Calor plays an important role in supplying liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) to heat rural homes and businesses and to fuel vehicles across the region and the UK. Infrastructure investment and a thriving road transport network are vital in enabling us to deliver these much-needed energy supplies to our customers.”

During the visit Patrick McLoughlin said: “I was very impressed by the vision that Calor has, both for Thurrock as a location to do business and the future of the gas market.”

“I know how important infrastructure investment is in attracting and retaining companies and the jobs which they create.  I am grateful to Stephen Metcalfe for inviting me to Calor today and he certainly made the case for Essex to get more investment.  This is something that I am committed to but we can only invest in Thurrock if we have a strong economy.  The Conservative Party is determined to continue investing here but all this would be put at risk by Ed Miliband and Labour being propped up by Alex Salmond and the SNP.”

Stephen said: “There is no doubt Thurrock is a great place to do business and to invest in. We have some great projects underway such as the London Gateway Port which could potential support 12,000 jobs locally. We are also seeing work start on the new Thames Enterprise Park on the former Coryton site.”

“However, for these investments to truly flourish, we need the infrastructure to support them. I am therefore pleased this government has invested millions of pounds locally in widening the A13, improving junction 30/31 of the M25, introducing Free Flow Tolling.”

Thames Enterprise Park is a hub of industrial and energy-related businesses, occupying one of the largest industrial sites in the northern Thames Gateway and complementing the neighboring Thames Oilport and London Gateway.

Stephen added: “The park could potentially be home to some really game-changing businesses such as the proposed GreenSky London project which would see household waste converted in to jet fuel and electricity.”

Patrick added: “GreenSky London is an exciting project that could transform fuel use in aviation and bring jobs to South Basildon & East Thurrock. It is an excellent example of UK innovation in green technology and the partnership between Solena Fuels and British Airways shows the potential for a high-tech sector to regenerate a former industrial heartland.”

Stephen finished by commenting: “I am grateful to Patrick for his visit today and for the infrastructure investment that have been made. If I am fortunate enough to be re-elected, I will push for further investment in the area, particularly in addressing the issue of Level Crossings in Thurrock and investment in the A127.”

Tuesday, 21 April 2015

Stephen Metcalfe and Eric Pickles visit Frost Estate

Stephen Metcalfe, local Parliamentary candidate for South Basildon & East Thurrock and Eric Pickles the Secretary of State for Local Government stopped by the Frost Estate to support the Conservative election campaign in Corringham. Eric was out and about with Stephen Metcalfe and his team hoping to return him to Parliament, as well as showing support for local election candidates, Deborah Stewart and Gary Collins.

Stephen said: "Nearly three years ago I started the process of helping local residents on the Frost Estate explore ways that they could tackle a number of long running issues such as the state of the roads.”

“Following the establishment of a resident led steering group, a Residents Association was formed who have worked with Thurrock Council to look at the creation of a Parish Council for the area.”

“After extensive consultation and a formal ballot, the majority of residents who responded supported the idea and this was evident while Eric and I were out and about.”

“It is therefore a disgrace that Labour and UKIP Councillors voted to kick the Parish Council into the long grass, even though it was supported in a public vote by 75% those who voted.”

Stephen added: “If re-elected I will keep working to give the people of the Frost Estate what they have asked for and voted for.”

“We need a Conservative Government and Conservative Council to continue with the localism agenda to ensure that we honour any local referendum, opposed to this unacceptable fudge. I voted for the Localism Bill that Eric introduced to give people more power over their communities, if re-elected I will keep backing local people”.
Stephen Metcalfe and Tony Ball Call for the Barge Inn to be protected

Stephen Metcalfe, local Parliamentary Candidate and Tony Ball, Basildon Council Candidate for Vange have today called for The Barge Inn in Vange to be protected.

Unfortunately the Barge Inn suddenly closed a couple of weeks ago and faces an uncertain future, however, whatever its future, Stephen and Tony are calling for the building itself to be protected.

Stephen said: “It would be a real shame if this valuable local community facility closed permanently and, if re-elected, we would want to explore what options there are for it to be brought back to life, perhaps as a community enterprise. However, I am equally keen to see the building itself protected.”

“We know there has been a pub on this site for a least 200 years, possibly much longer, and it would be a crime to lose yet another bit of local heritage.”

Tony Ball said: “This local landmark is an important part of our heritage and another candidate for a ‘Local List’. As a predominately new town, our local heritage is sparse but our local identity is strong. That it is why it is important to protect what we do have.”

Stephen added: “Since we lost the Old Rectory I have met with Basildon Heritage and together we are hoping to start pulling together a list of local landmarks that could form the basis of a ‘Local List’, what we don’t want to see is yet another Basildon icon lost to a block of flats. These sites are important and we should work to protect them.

“If elected that’s what both Tony and I will do.”

Thursday, 26 March 2015

Stephen Metcalfe MP: welcomes increased funding for Basildon and Thurrock school buildings

Stephen Metcalfe, the local MP for South Basildon and East Thurrock, has today welcomed the news that schools in his constituency will receiving funding to improve their buildings.

This is part of an extra £367 million that the government has allocated for investment in buildings at over one thousand schools across the country. The condition improvement fund targets schools that need additional money for repairs, or to help them expand.

This money will be used to ensure that schools like Great Berry Primary School, Hassenbrook Academy, Corringham Primary School, and Gable Hall, have the facilities to deliver the best education, so that pupils can fulfil their potential and get on in life.

Investment in the schools is key to our long-term plan for education - our aim is that every child will have a good-quality place in a local school. As part of this, £18 billion has been made available for investment in schools in England over this Parliament - more than double the amount Labour spent in its first two terms combined.

Stephen Metcalfe commented: “Part of my six point plan for South Basildon and East Thurrock, is to put education at the top of my agenda to give young people the best possible start in life and to give them the skills they need to succeed in an ever more challenging world. That also means ensuring our schools are able to offer the best possible facilities to create the best learning environment.”

“It is great news that, thanks to the difficult decisions this Government has taken to deal with our deficit, it has been possible to fund this boost for for our local school community, and address the needs of our children.”

“As part of our long-term economic plan, we are delivering the best schools and skills for young people, with a million more children in schools rated good or outstanding than 2010. This announcement means that pupils in Basildon and Thurrock will feel the direct benefit of our plan, and will get the investment in their education that they deserve.”
Stephen Metcalfe MP: welcomes new apprenticeships for people in Basildon & Thurrock

Stephen Metcalfe, local MP has today welcomed new figures showing that 500 new apprenticeships were started by people in his constituency of South Basildon and East Thurrock between August 2014 and January 2015. 
Stephen with Engineering Apprentices from SelexES

In total, 3,840 apprenticeships have been started in South Basildon and East Thurrock since 2010, whilst across England, over 2.2 million apprenticeships have been started since 2010.

A future Conservative government would go even further, committing to deliver 3 million apprenticeships by 2020, 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 figures are fantastic news, and show that when it comes to the economy, the Conservatives have got all bases covered”.

“Not only are we creating jobs at a record level, but we are also improving the opportunities of our young people with all of these news apprenticeships”.

“We are putting apprenticeships at the heart of our long-term economic plan, funding more of them and making sure they are high quality, teaching the skills that businesses need.  A future Conservative government would build on the great progress we have already made, committing to deliver 3 million more apprenticeships by 2020 and effectively to end youth unemployment. 

“We are giving young people proper training and the prospect of a better future. Millions of young people are getting a good start in life, learning a trade, and knowing the purpose and pride that comes with that.”

“I am so pleased to see the young people in Basildon and Thurrock benefitting from these opportunities. I believe it is vital that the Conservatives are given the chance to secure even more opportunities for local people in the coming election”.

Wednesday, 25 March 2015

Stephen Metcalfe MP celebrates International Women’s Day in Parliament with local schoolgirls

Local MP, Stephen Metcalfe for South Basildon and East Thurrock has celebrated International Women’s Day (IWD) in Parliament this year by inviting two local schoolgirls and their teachers to Parliament for the day.

International Women’s Day celebrates the positive contribution women have made and are making to society and to highlight the achievements of women from around the world. Annually, thousands of events are held and a web of diverse local activity connects women from all around the world ranging from political rallies, business conferences, government activities through to local women's craft markets.

This year, Stephen marked the occasion by inviting local pupils Isabelle Marsh from Woodlands School and Gitali Guanel from Gable Hall to come to Westminster and visit Parliament with him for the day.

As well as seeing a live debate in the House of Commons, Isabelle and Gitali were treated to a tour of Parliament and Downing Street. They also had afternoon tea in the Speaker’s House.

(L to R) Mary Heckles and Isabelle Marsh
 from Woodlands School,
 Stephen Metcalfe MP,  Gitali Guanel and
 Lauren Tyrrell from Gable Hall School.
Stephen Metcalfe commented: “International Women’s Day is a hugely important event on my Parliamentary calendar, and I believe it provides us all with an excellent opportunity to recognise the contribution that women at all levels of society make.”

“Gitali and Isabelle clearly have bright futures ahead of them and I had a great time celebrating the achievements of women around the world with them. I hope that the day has helped inspire them to think about Politics in an engaging and positive way.”

Monday, 23 March 2015

Stephen Metcalfe MP calls for a re-think on Part Night Lighting (PNL)

Stephen Metcalfe, local MP for South Basildon and East Thurrock has today again called for a rethink on Part Night Lighting, pointing out that one year on, many people are no happier with the system than they were when it started.

Stephen who has consistently raised concerns about the scheme and continues to call for the lights to be turned back on said: “I am constantly made aware of anecdotal evidence that PNL lighting is leading to an increase in certain crimes and certainly an increase in the fear of crime.”

“Despite my constant call for a reversal of the policy, unfortunately at present the County Council are not minded to change their view.”

“I am therefore calling on ECC to amend the rules to allow lights to stay on until 1am. This would allow more people to get home while the street lights are still on whether they are going home after a night out, making their way back from the Station or returning home from work.”

“This is not the perfect solution, but I believe it would be a step in the right direction and also show that despite our disagreement on this issue, I and the County Council are still working together to find a more long term solution.”

“That is why I would also like the County Council to speed up the trial of LED lights and determine if they are a suitable alternative to PNL, so we can have the lights back on while still saving money.”

“I hope Cllr Bass will respond positively to my request and I know that he is keen to work with local people to mitigate the impact PNL has.”

Thursday, 19 March 2015

Stephen Metcalfe MP welcomes Budget as another step on the road to prosperity in South Basildon & East Thurrock

Stephen Metcalfe, local Member of Parliament for South Basildon & East Thurrock has welcomed today’s Budget as another step on the road to prosperity. The Conservatives have a plan that is working, and a Budget that works for you. It shows:

A growing economy - with Britain growing faster than any other major advanced economy. 
Record numbers of jobs – with 1.9 million more people now have the security of work.
Rising living standards – with families an average of £900 better off in 2015 than in 2010.
The deficit down by more than a half as a share of the economy. 
Our national debt starting to fall as a share of the economy - so we fix the roof while the sun is shining. 

The Budget sets out the choice between the chaos of Labour, or the long term economic plan that is working. It shows how a future Conservative Government would secure a better future for you, your family and Britain by:

Choosing stability – committing to run a budget surplus and keep our debt share falling.
Choosing jobs - backing business and skills so we can achieve full employment, and supporting pubs and brewers by cutting tax on beer, cider, and whisky.
Choosing the whole nation – investing for a truly national recovery that is felt in all parts of the country by building a Northern Powerhouse and backing economic plans in every region.
Choosing responsibility – helping savers with the Personal Savings Allowance, abolishing savings tax altogether for 17 million people, and giving savers more freedoms with Flexible ISAs - so we build the economy on savings, not debt.
Choosing aspiration – with a new Help to Buy ISA for first time buyers. If you save up to £12,000 towards a deposit, the government will contribute up to £3,000 – helping more people realise the dream of owning their own home.
Choosing families – cutting income tax for 27 million people and continuing the fuel duty freeze so families can be more financially secure.

Stephen said: “We have been working through our long term economic plan, and the local economy has been steadily improving, with unemployment now less than half what it was in 2010.” 

“This Budget is another step on the road from austerity to prosperity - with support for savers, lower taxes for people in work and a clear plan to make sure Britain pays its way in the world."

“Five years ago, Britain was spending and borrowing too much, too many people were out of work and our economy was on its knees. That’s why there is a critical choice facing us this year: return to the chaos of the past or stick with a plan that is working and choose a more prosperous future. We must choose the future.” 

Stephen Metcalfe MP welcomes new Regional Growth Fund investment for local businesses

Stephen Metcalfe, local MP for South Basildon and East Thurrock, has welcomed the announcement of £8.6 million additional funding from the Regional Growth Fund to help regional businesses grow and create jobs in the East of England (which includes Basildon & Thurrock).

This brings the total funding to the East of England region to date from the Regional Growth Fund to £100 million, attracting £0.4 billion of private investment and projecting to support 31,000 jobs.

The Regional Growth Fund stimulates enterprise across the country by providing grants to projects and programmes with significant potential for economic growth, unlocking private sector investment and creating jobs.

Recently the fund awarded 63 new projects and programmes across England with a further £297 million of investment. In total, £2.85 billion has now been invested in regional businesses since the launch of the fund in 2010, helping them to expand and create jobs.

Stephen Metcalfe commented: “These latest figures are great news for the people of Basildon and Thurrock and will help local businesses grow, bringing more and more jobs into the area.”

“Creating more jobs by backing local businesses is a key part of the Conservatives’ long-term economic plan to secure a better and brighter future for Britain. Each new job this fund supports means another family with the security of a regular pay packet.”

Greg Clark MP, Business Minister, said: “The government is supporting local businesses and enterprise across the country, helping them to expand and create long-term, skilled jobs.”

“This latest round of RGF investments will help local firms fulfil their ambitions for growth, encourage businesses to set up bases in the UK and boost jobs and prosperity.”

Wednesday, 11 March 2015

Stephen Metcalfe MP holds discussions over new University Technical College for Basildon

Local MP for South Basildon and East Thurrock Stephen Metcalfe has this week moved his ambition to secure a new University Technical College (UTC) for the area one step closer.

Following Stephen’s question in Parliament about how a local UTC would encourage and enthuse local young people to look at engineering as a valued career Stephen secured a meeting with Lord Baker from the Baker Dearing Educational Trust, the organisation that helps deliver UTC’s across the country.

Speaking after the meeting, Stephen said: “Having talked to Lord Baker, I am more convinced than ever that students form Basildon and Thurrock would truly benefit from a UTC giving them the skills they need to access the vast array of local job opportunities that exist now and in the future.”

“The next job is to engage with our vibrant business community and get them behind the idea.”

As Stephen said in Parliament this week during Work and Pensions questions: “One barrier to young people seeking employment is that they do not necessarily have the correct skills required to take up the opportunities on offer. Will my right hon. Friend work with colleagues in the Department for Education and across the Jobcentre Plus network to ensure that local schools and colleges are aware of the skills that local employers need?”

The Work and Pensions Minister Esther McVey, agreed with Stephen and added: “…We are working with the Department for Education on a new careers and enterprise company, and through the Inspiring the Future initiative young people are meeting business people to get a feel for what business and employment is all about, and we must support them as best we can.”

Stephen Metcalfe later commented: “With the Conservatives in Government and the prospect of a new University Technical College, the future for young people across Basildon and Thurrock has never been brighter”.

Monday, 9 March 2015

Stephen Metcalfe MP: supporting Home Heat Helpline

Stephen Metcalfe, the local MP for South Basildon and East Thurrock has today spoken in support of Home Heat Helpline, and is reminding his constituents to seek help when worried about energy bills or concerned about staying warm.

The Home Heat Helpline is a free, impartial and confidential service that provides advice on rebates, grants for insulation and new boilers, and tips on saving energy. People in Basildon and Thurrock are among the 1 in 10 households across the country that could benefit but many people don’t realise what support is available.

Stephen Metcalfe commented: “During the cold weather and the winter months, there may be some local residents who are concerned about staying warm. I would urge people to call the Home Heat Helpline for advice “

“The Home Heat Helpline is an independent helpline which has done a brilliant job in helping over 350,000 people since its launch in 2005.”

“I would also ask people to look out for neighbours, friends and relatives who may be in difficulty and make sure they are aware of the potential help offered by Home Heat Helpline”.

Lawrence Slade, spokesperson for Home Heat Helpline, said: “If anyone is feeling the cold this winter or is concerned about keeping their home warm they can call our free Helpline on 0800 33 66 99 or visit the website www.homeheathelpline.org.uk. With one in ten households across the country eligible for some kind of help they’ve got nothing to lose and possibly lots to gain by getting in touch.”
             
There are also some other simple steps people can take in reducing their energy. For example:

Keep the heat in. A third of the cost of heating a home is lost through the walls, so insulating them is the best way to save energy in the home. Installing cavity wall insulation can save up to £160 per year on bills.
Look up. Laying the loft with 10 inches/25 centimetres of insulation can save a quarter of a home’s heating costs.
See the light. Replacing just one old light bulb with an energy saving recommended one can reduce lighting costs by up to £78 over the lifetime of the bulb. Plus they last up to 12 times longer than the ordinary light bulbs
Get on down. Turning the thermostat down by 1˚C could cut bills by up to 10 per cent.

The Home Heat Helpline (0800 33 66 99/ 0333 300 3366) is funded by Britain’s major energy suppliers and supported by a range of support organisations including Age UK, Citizens Advice; National Energy Action, Energy Saving Trust and Gingerbread.

Thursday, 26 February 2015

Stephen Metcalfe MP seeks reassurances from the Government over countering ISIL

Stephen Metcalfe, the local MP for South Basildon and East Thurrock has sought in Parliament this week reassurances from the Government over measures being taken to tackle ISIL.

Addressing the Defence Secretary during Parliamentary Defence Questions, Stephen Metcalfe asked: “What steps his Department is taking to assist Iraqi forces in countering ISIL.”

The Secretary of Defence Michael Fallon replied: “We are making a major contribution to the coalition. We are conducting infantry training and have trained more than 1,000 Iraqis so far. We are leading on counter-improvised explosive device training and, subject to parliamentary approval, will gift 1,000 hand-held metal detectors. As of Sunday, we have conducted 152 air strikes in Iraq and deployed a range of aircraft to the region, including surveillance aircraft.”

Stephen Metcalfe then took the opportunity mention how the British Armed Forces have a noteworthy expertise in countering improvised explosive devices and that this should be put to use in the fight against ISIL.

Stephen asked: “One of the legacies of our time in Afghanistan is our expertise in tackling IEDs. Will my right hon. Friend tell the House when Britain will begin training Iraqi forces in this capability and what equipment—for example, electronic IED counter-measures such as those built by Selex ES in Basildon—will be made available so that they can better tackle ISIL?”

The Secretary of Defence, agreeing with Stephen, replied: “I am grateful to my hon. Friend for that question and can tell him that the counter-IED training will begin early next month. UK personnel are already engaged in Baghdad in course design at the coalition headquarters. In conjunction with the metal detector equipment we intend to supply, the training will allow about six Iraqi battalions to have an improved counter-IED capability, as well as creating smaller specialist counter-IED teams.”

Stephen Metcalfe later commented: “It is only right that the internationally respected expertise of our great British military men and women is put to effective use when tackling the global threat of ISIL.”

“I believe it is so important that I seek reassurances on behalf of my constituents in Basildon and Thurrock, to ensure that effective action is being taken to keep us safe.”

“I fully support the measures that the Government has taken and am glad to have received an update on the progress being made.”