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.”

Monday, 23 February 2015

Stephen Metcalfe MP: speaks up for Basildon and Thurrock Police in Parliament

Stephen Metcalfe, the local MP for South Basildon and East Thurrock has recently spoken in support of police officers across Basildon and Thurrock in Parliament.

Raising the subject of police red tape with the Home Secretary Theresa May, Stephen Metcalfe asked: “What steps she has taken to reduce administrative burdens on the police.”

Theresa May replied: “We have cut red tape and freed the police from central Government control to enable them to focus on their clear goal, which is to cut crime. The work we have undertaken to reduce bureaucracy could see up to 4.5 million hours of police time saved across all forces every year—the equivalent of more than 2,100 officers back on the beat.”

Stephen Metcalfe said: “May I put on record my thanks to police officers across Basildon and Thurrock for all their hard work in keeping our community safe? Does this Government’s record show that when it comes to vital services such as the police, with true reform it is possible to do more with less?”

Home Secretary Theresa May replied: “My hon. Friend makes a good point. The reforms we have put in place are working, and crime is down overall by more than a fifth since the last election. I join him in saying that work to cut crime is being carried out by police officers and staff day in, day out, and I pay tribute to police officers in Basildon and Thurrock and across the country for that work.”

Stephen Metcalfe later commented: “I believe it is so important that we recognise the incredible job that our local police do in Basildon and Thurrock.”

“The Government is committed to reducing needless red tape, so that we can continue to free up police time and keep our officers on our streets.”

“Since the we came to Government in the last general election, crime overall has fallen by more than a fifth. This has been a brilliant achievement for the country.”
Stephen Metcalfe MP, taking Homelessness seriously

Stephen Metcalfe, local MP for South Basildon and East Thurrock is inviting views on homelessness in Basildon following a recent meeting with constituents from the voluntary group “Homeless Help in Basildon”.

The group, who are less than a year old, provide practical support for rough sleepers across the district and visited the MP to ask what help he could give to tackle the problem.

Stephen, who has long been a supporter of tackling of rough sleeping and homelessness, having previously worked at a night shelter, said he would do what he could and suggested organising a Homelessness Summit to understand the root cause and scale of the problem.

However in advance of the Summit Stephen has, together with other Homelessness charities, including the Basildon Church Together Group, Project Isaiah 58:7 called for a homelessness forum to be held where those with an interest in helping solve the problem can come together to discuss their experiences and what solutions or barriers may exist. He is also hoping some of the homeless community will come forward to tell the group first hand of their experience.

The forum is open to anyone with an interest in this issue and will be held on Saturday 28th February at 2.30pm in St Martin’s Pastoral Centre, St Martin’s Square, Basildon SS14 1DX by kind permission of the Rector of St Martin’s Church.

Stephen said: “The aim of this meeting is a round table discussion with practitioners and volunteers who are involved in providing assistance and support for homeless people.  Once we have gathered our collective thoughts and identified the key issues which need to be addressed, we can then present these to other professionals at a Homelessness Summit planned for Friday 27th March.”

“If anyone is interested in attending, I would welcome their input and ask that they contact me either at my Parliamentary office on 020 7219 7009 or via email: to book in.”

Stephen added: “Hopefully by working together we can make a real difference to those who seemed to have dropped out of the system and been all but forgotten, except by those who, out of their own goodness, try to make their lives a little bit easier. It’s the least I can do to try and help.”

Wednesday, 18 February 2015

Stephen Metcalfe MP: supporting Cancer Research UK’s ‘Cross Cancer Out’ Campaign

Stephen Metcalfe, MP for South Basildon and East Thurrock, has backed an appeal from Cancer Research UK to save the lives of more cancer patients, as news comes that one in two people will be diagnosed with the disease at some point in their lives.

The new figure was announced on World Cancer Day (February 4) to highlight the urgent need to bolster public health and NHS cancer services so they can cope with a growing and ageing population and the looming demands for better diagnostics, treatments, and earlier diagnosis.

Stephen Metcalfe attended a parliamentary event held by Cancer Research UK to mark World Cancer Day and encourage MPs to support their Cross Cancer Out campaign.

In the run up to the General Election, the charity is calling on candidates to back measures to ensure cancer patients receive the best treatment and are diagnosed early enough for that treatment to make a difference.

UK cancer survival rates are still lagging behind the best in Europe and in England nearly half of all cancers are diagnosed at an advanced stage, when they are harder to treat successfully.

Cancer Research UK says that support for public awareness campaigns, increasing screening uptake and ensuring equal access to innovative evidence-based treatments are key to saving more lives.

Stephen Metcalfe commented: “Raising support for cancer treatments is of huge importance for me and my constituents, and Cancer Research UK does an incredible job in the battle against the disease.”

“With more than three people diagnosed with cancer every hour in the East of England, it is vital that we detect cancer earlier, both in the region, and across the country.”

“MPs have a vital role to play in helping to beat cancer sooner and improve our public services, and I take my responsibilities on this matter very seriously. That is why I am backing the Cross Cancer Out campaign, and supporting those who do such an incredible job with research and medical advances.

Layla Theiner, Head of Public Affairs at Cancer Research UK, said: “The increase in the lifetime risk of getting cancer is primarily because more people are surviving into old age, when the disease is more common. “

“We can’t avoid growing older, but we can prevent a crisis in the future by acting now to make our NHS cancer services among the best in the world.”

“Without increased political support we could see the death toll from cancer rising in the UK and so early diagnosis and better treatments must be key priorities for the next Government.”

“That’s why we’re calling on MPs and parliamentary candidates from all political parties to commit to ‘Cross Cancer Out’ and help ensure no-one’s life is cut short by this devastating disease.”

For more information and ways to get involved in the campaign, visit or join the conversation on twitter #CrossCancerOut

Thursday, 12 February 2015

Stephen Metcalfe MP asks for support for Engineering University Technical College for Basildon and gets it!

Stephen Metcalfe, the local MP for South Basildon and East Thurrock, has today secured a meeting to begin discussions over the potential development of a new University Technical College for Basildon.

Stephen Metcalfe, rising in Parliament today, asked the Minister for Skills and Equalities, for support in exploring the “possibility of establishing a university technical college (UTC) specialising in engineering in Basildon to meet our local needs and to encourage and enthuse young people to look at engineering as a valued career.”

Stephen Metcalfe’s calls were met with enthusiasm in the Commons by the Minister, and as a result the Baker Dearing Educational Trust has agreed to meet with the local MP to discuss how his idea might be implemented.

Stephen Metcalfe commented: “I am so pleased to have been able to secure this meeting for the local area.”

“This country is going to have a huge demand for engineers over the next few decades, and I want Basildon and Thurrock to be able to play a leading role in this fulfilling this need.”

“There are so many talented young people in the area, and I believe that the development of a new University Technical College will help inspire many of them to pursue a career in engineering”.

“The Baker Dearing Educational Trust have done a fantastic job at promoting University Technical Colleges around the country, and I want to secure the same benefits for the people of Basildon and Thurrock”. 

For more information visit:

Wednesday, 11 February 2015

Local MPs and Thurrock resident join British Heart Foundation to support funding for Life Saving Research

Local MPs, Stephen Metcalfe and Jackie Doyle-Price have jointly attended a British Heart Foundation (BHF) event calling on the next government to guarantee the future of the science budget to protect life saving research.
Stephen Metcalfe MP & Jackie Doyle-Price MP
 join heart patient Emily Sullivan for a science lesson in Parliament

At the event, Stephen and Jackie joined heart patient and local Thurrock resident Emily Sullivan, 8, for a science lesson to highlight the importance of charities being able to continue funding medical research.

Emily has had three open heart surgeries after being born with three large holes in her heart, a condition that more and more people are surviving because of BHF research.

The two MPs join thousands of people across the UK who will be wearing red on February 6 for Wear It. Beat It. to help the BHF continue to fund life saving research.

Medical research charities, like the BHF, rely on government investment to pay for the indirect costs of research, such as lighting, electricity and heating for laboratories. Without government support, the BHF’s ability to fund world class research to prevent and treat cardiovascular disease (CVD) would be significantly reduced.

Between then, Stephen & Jackie commented: “Charities are an essential part of the UK medical research environment and the science budget is vital to supporting their research.”

“By funding the day-to-day running of science facilities, the next government will ensure that researchers can concentrate on finding the next life saving cure.”

“It was so great to meet Emily. It really brought home for me how important this funding is. I know that my constituents will join me in supporting such an important cause”.

Professor Peter Weissberg, Medical Director at the British Heart Foundation, said: “If the UK is to maintain its strong position in biomedical research, the next government must guarantee the future of the science budget.”

“Every single research grant we fund is underpinned by Government investment in universities. This fund is a vital partnership between Government, charity and universities and any cut to it would be extremely damaging to our life saving research and the fight against heart disease.”

A quarter of all deaths in the UK are caused by CVD and there are an estimated seven million people living with the condition. For over 50 years the BHF has pioneered research that has transformed the lives of millions of people living with CVD. The BHF is the largest independent funder of cardiovascular research and invests over £100 million every year.

Monday, 9 February 2015

Stephen Metcalfe MP seeks reassurances from Government on council taxes

Local MP for South Basildon and East Thurrock Stephen Metcalfe, has sought assurances from the Government over what plans there are to keep council tax down.

Stephen, rising to the floor of the House of Commons, addressing Secretary of State Eric Pickles, asked to hear: “What steps his Department has taken to freeze council tax charges since 2010-11.”

Secretary of State Eric Pickles replied: “Under the previous Administration, household budgets were severely squeezed as council tax more than doubled. By contrast, this Government have worked to freeze council tax. Across England, bills have fallen by 11% in real terms since 2010 thanks to our freeze.”

Stephen continued: “I thank my right hon. Friend for that answer. Will he reassure the House that he will do everything he can to help councils keep taxes low, and will he confirm that he will reject Labour’s call for a tax on family homes in England that would fill Scotland’s coffers?”

The Secretary of State then replied: “I am very happy to confirm that we have no plans to introduce a family homes tax. The principal problem with the proposal is that, were it to be introduced, the amount raised from those in the top band would be inadequate, so people living in an ordinary home would wake up the day after the election and find themselves in a mansion.”

Stephen Metcalfe later commented: “I think it is important that my constituents are reassured that this Conservative Government is committed to keeping council taxes low.”

“As we saw under Labour, unfair council tax can be one of the hardest hitters for British families up and down the country.”

“That is why I am so pleased that we as Conservatives have continued to freeze council tax, so that family budgets are not overly squeezed, and that people’s hard earned pay packets go further.”

Monday, 2 February 2015

Stephen Metcalfe MP seeks assurances from Government over River Thames water conditions

Local MP for South Basildon and East Thurrock, Stephen Metcalfe has been particularly keen to seek reassurances on British waters, as his constituency sits on the River Thames and is therefore directly affected by Government policy.

Stephen Metcalfe, rising on the floor of the House of Commons and addressing the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs asked: “What steps she has taken to improve the cleanliness of Britain's rivers and waterways”.

Secretary of State Elizabeth Truss replied: “We have made good progress and cleaned up more than 10,000 miles of our rivers. Pollution from sewage has gone down significantly. During this Parliament, phosphate pollution will fall by a fifth and ammonia by a sixth. This shows that a healthy environment goes hand in hand with a healthy economy.”

Stephen Metcalfe then asked: “The Thames is not only England’s longest river, but east of here and down to my constituency it is also the most populated. What steps are the Government taking to clean up the river, while balancing the needs of the users and flora and fauna?”

The Secretary of State replied: “My hon. Friend is absolutely right about the River Thames. It is vital not only for London but for our whole country, and it is unacceptable that at present raw sewage is regularly pumped into the Thames. That is why we are taking action, through projects such as the Thames tideway tunnel, to reduce that vastly.”

Stephen Metcalfe, commenting later, said: “It is so important that Britain’s rivers and waterways are kept to the highest of standards. They are an important part of so many people’s lives, especially here in Basildon and Thurrock and the rest of Essex.”

“It is crucial for local residents that Government acts responsibly on these matters, and that is why I am so pleased to hear the Government’s reassurances today. It is good to see the Conservatives taking action.”