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 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.