Thursday, 28 February 2013

Stephen Metcalfe MP gets a grilling at Southern Hay Youth Hub

Stephen Metcalfe, local MP for South Basildon and East Thurrock recently got a grilling from the young people at Southern Hay Youth Hub.

The Hub provides an informal education, social and personal development service for young people across Basildon. Amongst many other services, it delivers an Alternative Education Programme five days per week for students in year 11 who, for whatever reason, are struggling to engage well in formal schooling.

Stephen participated in a lively Q&A with young people from the programme and was quizzed on a variety of topics including petrol prices, housing benefit and crime.

The Q&A follows on from a visit to the Hub last year as part of National Youth Work Week and Mr Metcalfe is keen to retain strong ties with the organisation.

He commented: “I was delighted once again to have the opportunity to visit the Youth Hub and to see firsthand the fantastic work of the Alternative Education programme. The students were enthusiastic and certainly gave me lots of think about in the question and answer session! I hope that they enjoyed it as much as I did.”

Jane Herbert, the Curriculum Development Coordinator for Essex Youth Service, said: “The young people very much enjoyed the time with Stephen. He was very open and honest about a wide range of issues from immigration laws to more personal questions about his family and whether or not he had met David Cameron!”

Mr Metcalfe added: “I would like to reiterate my thanks to all of the dedicated staff at the Hub who provide these young people with a much needed lifeline. The Hub makes such a difference to the lives of the young people in my constituency and I will continue to support their work in whatever way I can.”

Stephen Metcalfe MP walks the line in support of Light Railway Project

Stephen Metcalfe with CLR project Manager, Lisa Sargent 

Last weekend Stephen Metcalfe, local MP for South Basildon and East Thurrock, braced the freezing temperatures to walk the line in support of the Corringham Light Railway Project.

The Corringham Light Railway was the first independent run railway line within 25 miles of London running from 1901 to 1952. The project aims to transform the old railway line into a free heritage walk and cycle track allowing walkers and cyclists alike to make the most of the historic pathway and to preserve an important part of local history.

Mr Metcalfe, who walked the entirety of the line, commented: “Despite the bracing temperatures, I thoroughly enjoyed walking the line of the Corringham Light railway! It is a great project and I think it would be extremely beneficial for the area to have a path that walkers and cyclists can enjoy.”

Mr Metcalfe was joined by around 20 other walkers who also hope that Lottery funding will enable them to use the track bed as a nature and local history area for children.

The process, however, may not be a straightforward one. The land officially forms part of the land owned by the Coryton Oil Refinery and therefore falls under PricewaterhouseCoopers administration package meaning the future ownership of the land is uncertain.

Mr Metcalfe added: “The Corringham Light Railway has potential to be a great feature of Thurrock and if the practical problem of land ownership under PwC can be overcome, I see no reason why the old track bed cannot have a future as part of our industrial heritage.”

“I will be working with my local Council colleagues to discuss potential solutions and to see whether there is any scope within the Local Development Framework to assist the project managers in achieving their objectives. I hope that this will result in a new walkway that local people can cherish and enjoy for years to come.”

Stephen Metcalfe MP congratulates Government on energy reduction plan

Stephen Metcalfe, local MP for South Basildon and East Thurrock, has signed an EDM congratulating the Government on their energy reduction plan.

Proposals to dramatically reduce electricity demand across the UK were published by the Government late last year. They demonstrate that just a 10% reduction in electricity demand could produce savings of around £4billion by 2030. It would also cut 4.5 megatonnes of carbon – the equivalent of that produced by one large city in a year.

Mr Metcalfe commented: “I signed the EDM to congratulate the Government on these sensible plans. Cutting the amount of electricity used in Britain is much cheaper than paying firms to supply additional energy. These plans will not only save money through lower bills but will reduce some of the need for new generation capacity.”

“We are leading the way on efficiency, helping to put the UK at the forefront of the growing global market for energy efficiency goods and driving growth in green jobs.”

The publication of the Electricity Demand Reduction consultation by the Department for Energy and Climate Change, demonstrates that Ministers are taking the issues of energy saving, efficiency and waste reduction extremely seriously.

Energy Secretary Edward Davey said: “The Coalition Government is absolutely determined to help cut energy bills for consumer, reduce costs for businesses and bring down our emissions. We need to make our energy supply fit for the 21st century, and in a world of rising gas prices, we must power our homes and businesses in a much more efficient way.”

Mr Metcalfe added: “The previous Labour Government failed to carry this exercise. Now under this Government, the residents of South Basildon and East Thurrock will enjoy reduced bills, less waste and warmer homes.”

Wednesday, 27 February 2013

Stephen Metcalfe MP lends support to Open Road

Stephen Metcalfe local MP for South Basildon and East Thurrock has expressed his support for the local Open Road centre in Basildon which provides much needed help for individuals affected by drugs and alcohol.

Open Road is the leading provider of drug and alcohol services in the East of England with numerous centres located throughout Essex, Suffolk and Norfolk. The site in Basildon offers a safe and secure environment in which people suffering with drug or alcohol related problems can seek advice, access services and treatment, and where under 18s can access Essex Young People’s Drug and Alcohol Service (EYPDAS).

Mr Metcalfe commented: “Open Road provide an invaluable service to people suffering with drug or alcohol related issues. They not only offer services to deal with the practicalities of addiction, but most importantly, they empower people, enabling them to choose a life free from drugs and alcohol. This not only benefits individuals but the community as a whole.”

“In conjunction with EYPDAS, Open Road are in the process of launching a new project that would see representatives from the organisations go into local schools to educate the young people about the dangers of drugs and alcohol in a more accessible and informative way.”

Mr Metcalfe added: “Prevention is better than cure and education is a key way through which prevention can be achieved. I will be wholeheartedly supporting this project and am already in the process of a convening a meeting with colleagues and groups in South Essex to try and find away to fund this important endeavour. Basildon Council has kindly agreed to host the meeting and I look forward to seeing the outcome. I will also be contacting other MPs including the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government Eric Pickles about the issue.”

If you would like further information about Open Road Basildon please visit:, or if you are under 18, please see: No appointment is necessary to visit the centre and clients are welcome at any time during open hours. 

Stephen Metcalfe MP welcomes recognition for WWII Heroes

Stephen Metcalfe, local MP for South Basildon and East Thurrock, has welcomed the Government’s announcement that World War II war heroes who served on the Arctic Convoys and in Bomber Command will be eligible to receive new recognition.

Families of those who have sadly died will also be able to apply for the new awards in recognition of their loved ones’ bravery. Up to a quarter of a million veterans and families could be eligible for the awards.

Production of the new Arctic Star medal and Bomber Command clasp will start this week and living veterans and widows will be the first in line to receive the new awards from as early as March.

Winston Churchill famously singled the Arctic Convoys out as the “most dangerous run of the war” and the men of Bomber Command faced extremely high casualty rates: 55,000 out of 125,000 who served died.

Stephen Metcalfe MP said: “This is a fantastic announcement which will truly recognise the bravery displayed by those who fought for our freedom in World War Two. I would encourage all eligible veterans and next of kin in South Basildon and East Thurrock to apply for the new awards.”

Minister of State for Defence Personnel, Welfare and Veterans Mark Francois added: “All those who served our country in Bomber Command and on the Arctic Convoys deserve nothing but the utmost respect and admiration from us. That’s why I am delighted that these special individuals will in the next few weeks begin to receive the Bomber Command clasp and Arctic Star that they have so long deserved.”

“I am also pleased to announce that the families of those no longer alive will also be able to apply for these awards in recognition of their loved one’s bravery.”

Stephen Metcalfe MP: Getting households a fair deal on their energy bills

Stephen Metcalfe has today welcomed the news that the residents of South Basildon and East Thurrock are one step closer to cheaper energy bills thanks to Ofgem’s reforms to the energy market.

The changes follow the plans set out by the Prime Minister last year to ensure consumers get the cheapest deal and will be in place by summer.

Ofgem’s reforms endorse the proposals in the Government’s Energy Bill currently in parliament. They include:

  • Making the market simpler by restricting suppliers to offering four simple core tariffs per fuel type.
  • Requiring suppliers to give all their customers personalised information on the cheapest tariff they offer for them.
  • New rules which require suppliers to send clear bills which are easier for customers to understand. 

The Government’ Energy Bill will underpin these changes to ensure that all customers are getting the best deal on their energy bills by 2014.

Commenting, local MP Stephen Metcalfe said: “I welcome Ofgem’s reforms. I know that people across South Basildon and East Thurrock are concerned about their energy bills and it is right that action is being taken to bring them down. It is a big step in the right direction, and follows the Prime Minister’s promise last year to get the lowest tariffs for consumers.”

The Prime Minister, David Cameron, said: “I made a personal commitment to help get energy bills down - and I'm delighted that Ofgem are taking that forward. The package announced today is fairer for everyone and is about putting people before profits. It's about pensioners being better able to heat their homes in winter, and families better able to cope when the bills arrive.”

Monday, 25 February 2013

Stephen Metcalfe MP urges constituents to “Grow your charity online”

Stephen Metcalfe, local MP for South Basildon and East Thurrock, is encouraging local charities to make the most of a new campaign to help 30,000 of Britain’s smallest charities boost their fundraising through online tools and the internet.

Launched earlier this month in partnership with Media Trust and the Charity Technology Trust, the ‘Grow Your Charity Online’ initiative will provide free training and tools for charities across the country.

The initiative comprises of an online learning hub, specialised training, workshops and live events that aim to bridge the e-skills gap and help charities harness the power of the Internet to amplify their reach, bolster their fundraising and boost their volunteer engagement. Those with few resources will also be able to download free training materials to help them make the most of the web and free access to online services that businesses pay for such as advertising and businesses apps.

Mr Metcalfe commented: “This is a first for the UK and a fantastic opportunity for charities in South Basildon and East Thurrock to really get their work off the ground. It is designed to overcome resource barriers to growth and to help reduce the e-skills gap which gives some organisations a head start over others.”

The initiative has evolved from a successful programme that Google has run over the past few years helping nearly a quarter of a million small UK businesses grow online across the UK.

Google will travel across the UK during 2013 to meet with charities face-to-face. It will also host a regular series of online educational events, allowing charities from across the UK to join advice sessions remotely. In addition to the tools, Google UK employees will dedicate a percentage of their work time towards the project, by volunteering their Internet expertise at various workshops over the year.

Mr Metcalfe added: “This will enable charities to take full advantage of the potential of the internet. I would encourage any charity in South Basildon and East Thurrock to visit: and get involved!”

Thursday, 21 February 2013

Stephen Metcalfe MP holds meeting to tackle local crime issues

Yesterday Stephen Metcalfe, local MP for South Basildon and East Thurrock, held a meeting with PCC Nick Alston and Councillors Little and Wootton to discuss tackling pervasive local crime issues.

At the top of the agenda was the issue of dogging in the redundant A128 loop near to Pear tree lane – a problem that has caused great upset to local residents.

Mr Metcalfe commented: “I have had a number of constituents contacting me about the wholly inappropriate and illegal practice of dogging in the redundant A128 loop near to Pear tree lane. I can entirely understand why it has caused such great upset and would like to congratulate my colleague Cllr Sue Little for all she has done to tackle these problems. It has been going on for too long and something must be done to stop it.”

“We are determined to tackle this problem and I will work closely with PCC Nick Alston, local Councillors and Essex Police to ensure that residents are free from this scourge on the community.”

Cllr Sue Little said: "It was a delight to welcome the new police crime commissioner Nick Alston along with our MP Stephen Metcalfe into my ward. Our discussions were fruitful with a real commitment from Nick in helping the police to become more effective in dealing with residents issues in our rural community. It was really refreshing to know our voices are being heard and action being taken."

The meeting also covered policing issues in the areas of Bulphan, Orsett and Horndon-on-the Hill and proved a productive means of pooling local knowledge to fully understand the problems affecting residents in the area.

Stephen Metcalfe added: “It is great to be able to work with an elected and accountable Police Commissioner to tackle local crime issues. Mr Alston is committed to improving policing and cutting crime in Basildon and Thurrock and I obviously fully support these objectives.”

“I look forward to seeing real improvements as a result of this meeting and sincerely hope that residents will start noticing a difference in the near future.”

Wednesday, 20 February 2013

Stephen Metcalfe MP welcomes package of social care reforms

Stephen Metcalfe, local MP for South Basildon and East Thurrock, has welcomed the Government’s recent announcement of a package of reforms to tackle the cost of social care.

Each year, more than 30,000 people have to sell their homes to pay for the cost of care. The Government have announced a number of reforms to help tackle this problem including a cap on care costs from 2017, and an increase in the threshold for the value of assets someone can hold before qualifying for support. This threshold will rise from £23,250 to £123,000.

Mr Metcalfe commented: “The current system, which only provides state support if your assets are above £23,250, is unfair and sends out completely the wrong message – that if you work hard, save for your future and want to have something to pass on to your loved ones, your savings can disappear in a puff of smoke if you end up needing long term care. As one in three of us will get dementia and one in ten end up with more than £100,000 of care costs, this is a problem we cannot ignore.”

“These new measures will provide financial protection for those in South Basildon and East Thurrock with modest wealth, while ensuring that the poorest continue to have all or the majority of their costs paid.”

Stephen Metcalfe added: “These proposals demonstrate the Government’s determination to help people in South Basildon and East Thurrock who have worked hard, saved and done the right thing. We can be proud that we will perhaps be the first country which, in the face of an ageing population, is building a system where people can plan and prepare for their care costs as much as they plan and prepare for their pensions.”

Stephen Metcalfe MP welcomes new education focus in youth justice system

Stephen Metcalfe, local MP for South Basildon and East Thurrock, has welcomed new proposals from Conservative Justice Secretary Chris Grayling to help young offenders turn their backs on crime.

The new plans, published recently, explore a radically different approach. Transforming Youth Custody: Putting Education at the Heart of Detention aims to deliver value for the taxpayer, reduce reoffending and set young offenders on the path to a better life.

At present, the average cost of a youth custodial place is £100,000 a year - with some as much as £200,000. 73 percent of young offenders who leave custody reoffend within a year.

Welcoming the announcement local MP Mr Metcalfe said: “It is absolutely vital that we tackle re-offending. If we can succeed in turning troubled young people away from a life of crime, and cut reoffending rates, that will mean less crime, fewer victims and safer communities. By putting education at the heart of the approach we can help young offenders to get on in life and make a contribution to society.”

“I urge local youth charities, education experts and other interested parties in South Basildon and East Thurrock to read the consultation document make submissions so that the views from our area can form part of the policy making process.”

Justice Secretary Chris Grayling said: “We cannot go on just doing more of the same, pouring more money into a system doesn't work in the hope of a different outcome.  That doesn’t make any sense to the taxpayer, or to the young people who we should be trying to get back on the straight and narrow.”

Stephen Metcalfe MP urges constituents to be aware of new water charges

Stephen Metcalfe, local MP for South Basildon and East Thurrock, is urging constituents to be aware of new water charges that will come in to play from April 2013.

Anglian Water’s household customers will see bills rise on average by £12 in the period to April 2014. Some customers will see bills rise by as much as 4%, 3% accounting for inflation with the other 1% helping to pay for Anglian Water’s £466 million investment program this year.

Anglian Water say the investment program will allow it to maintain and improve essential equipment, to invest in meeting the needs of the growing population, and to work on securing water supplies against the impacts of more severe weather and the threat of climate change.

Mr Metcalfe commented: “During these difficult financial times, no price rise is welcome, but Anglian Water have contacted me because they keen to help local residents as much as possible. They are mindful of the pressure on many family budgets and so are taking every opportunity to remind customers of ways in which the impact of bill increases may be reduced.”

Customers are being urged to contact the company to ensure that they are on the most appropriate tariff, to consider the option of a free water meter and to monitor or reduce their water consumption.

Mr Metcalfe added: “If you have any questions or queries about getting a water meter, about the bill increases or about the investment programme, Anglian Water’s customer service team are there to help. The number to call is: 08457 91 91 55.”

 “I would encourage my constituents to get in touch with the company to find out how best to manage the price rise from April 2013.”

Monday, 18 February 2013

Stephen Metcalfe MP speaks out for Eating Disorders Awareness Week: “No one should be suffering alone or in silence”

Stephen Metcalfe, local MP for South Basildon and East Thurrock, rose to the floor in Westminster Hall last week to lend his support to Eating Disorders Awareness Week 2013.

Eating Disorders Awareness Week is a week long campaign run by the charity Beat which encourages people to spread the message that ‘Everybody knows somebody’. Over 1.6 million people in the UK are affected by eating disorders of some kind, including people from all ages and backgrounds.

In a personal and emotive speech, Mr Metcalfe reflected on the danger posed by all eating disorders but was particularly shocked by the statistic which shows that of all the mental illnesses, Anorexia Nervosa has the highest mortality rate.

Mr Metcalfe said: “At 20%, Anorexia not only exceeds the death rate of other eating disorders, but of all other mental illnesses. The number of people suffering with some form of eating disorder in my constituency could be as high as 7,000 – that’s almost 1 in 10, yet I have never been contacted on the issue. I can only assume that either the service provision is excellent, or more worryingly, that people are suffering in silence.”
When made aware of the potential numbers of hidden sufferers, Stephen raised the issue with his own children who admitted they had personal experience of the pressure which leads to disordered eating.

He added: "It was a truly sobering thought that an issue which has a mortality rate of 20% was potentially impacting my own family. I suddenly realised the issue wasn't just one about teenage girls feeling self-conscious. Eating disorders are seriously debilitating diseases affecting all ages and both sexes - including young men like my son. I knew then I wanted to show some support for the campaign to raise awareness of eating disorders, and tell my constituents 'please don't suffer alone’”.

Hospital admissions for eating disorders amongst males has risen by 67% in the past ten years and men are less likely to seek help than women. Gay and bisexual men are twice as likely to suffer from an eating disorder than heterosexual men demonstrating that these diseases are indiscriminate.

Mr Metcalfe has called for greater awareness of the issues which underpin eating disorders, and for the NHS to provide better services when they are needed, particularly for sufferers of Anorexia. 

He added: “Anorexia kills 1 in 5 of those who suffer from it, and nearly half never fully recover. Given these shocking statistics, and the growing incidences of eating disorders such as Anorexia, we need to urgently tackle the underlying causes and enable people to quickly access the help they need.”

“The sooner someone is diagnosed, the more likely they are to fully recover so this is an issue that we all need to have greater awareness of. I would encourage anyone who is struggling to access the services they need to get in touch. No one should be suffering alone or in silence.”

Stephen Metcalfe MP urges Local Schools to Be Bothered! About Young Carers

Stephen Metcalfe MP is standing up for young carers in South Basildon and East Thurrock after attending an even in Parliament this week organised by charity Family Action. Mr Metcalfe is urging schools and colleges to Be Bothered! and put the right support in place for young carers in school.  

There were between 4,500 and 6,000 young carers in Essex between 2009 and 2011. Young Carers are children and young people caring for parents with a long term illness, disability or mental health issue. Some young carers also care for siblings or grandparents. This role can often negatively impact on young carers performance at school resulting in problems with attendance and punctuality or poor behaviour.

The campaign also calls for the Government to do more to encourage schools to support young carers including using the pupil premium to support this group.

Stephen Metcalfe MP signed up to Family Action’s Be Bothered! Make Education Count for Young Carers campaign to help raise awareness of the impact of caring roles on vulnerable young people. The campaign calls for schools and colleges to put the right support in place for young carers to improve their education experience and give them the same opportunity to do well in school as their non-caring peers. 

Family Action is a national charity that works with disadvantaged and vulnerable families providing emotional, practical and financial support. As part of their work they provide young carers services that work in partnership with schools and local authorities to reduce the negative impacts of caring on children and families.  Schools that work with local young carers services can significantly improve the experience of their young carers by putting effective policies and procedures in place.

Mr Metcalfe said: “I was delighted to attend Family Action’s Be Bothered! Make Education Count for Young Carers Parliamentary Reception and show my support for this often hidden group of young people. With research showing approximately one in twelve secondary schools pupils could have caring responsibilities, and some young carers are as young as five, its vital that we work to ensure young carers are supported to do well in school and at home.”

Family Action Chief Executive, Helen Dent said: “It was great to see Stephen Metcalfe MP at our event supporting young carers. We know from our work that organisations including schools and local authorities working together with young carers services can make a real difference to young carers futures. Schools looking for information and support to make education count for young carers can access our Be Bothered! Bulletin filled with hits and tips at

Stephen Metcalfe MP backs Conservative action to tackle metal theft

Stephen Metcalfe, local MP for South Basildon and East Thurrock, has welcomed a new law which will reform the scrap metal industry and tackle the problems of metal theft. 

The Scrap Metal Dealers Bill was taken through Parliament by a Conservative MP with support from the Government and this week passed its final stage in the House of Lords.

It will reform the outdated rules governing the scrap metal industry, creating a tougher, locally administered, licence regime. It will help the honest dealers who do the right thing, but it contains strong powers to stop the trade in stolen metal. For the first time it gives the police and local authorities the power to close down unlicensed dealers.

Welcoming the new powers, Mr Metcalfe, who has previously raised the issue on the floor of the House of Commons, said: “Metal theft is a scourge. Stolen power cables mean power cuts and delays on the railway, while stolen lead from church roofs and memorial plaques cause great upset and offense.”

“Local people in South Basildon and East Thurrock will be pleased that this new law, which the Conservatives have taken through Parliament, will reform the whole scrap metal industry and tighten the net around the dodgy dealers.”

Stephen Metcalfe MP encourages constituents to have a say on the future of water

Stephen Metcalfe, local MP for South Basildon and East Thurrock,  is encouraging all constituents to have their say on how water provider, Anglian Water, spends their money.

It is launching a seven-week consultation to see where bill payers think its priorities should lie at a challenging time for the region. 

Next year the company’s regulator, Ofwat, will decide how much Anglian is allowed to raise from bills until the end of the decade. The company must make its case, laying out the areas it believes need investment and it needs customers’ views to help draw up its business plan.

Peter Simpson, Anglian Water’s Managing Director, said: “What our customers tell us really will influence our investment plans and the size of customers’ bills over the next five years. The more people that take part, the more weight their opinions will carry.”

He added: “We face a huge range of challenges, not just as a water company but as a region. We are on the frontline in the fight against climate change, with some of the driest and lowest lying parts of the UK. Our region’s population is growing fast while the amount of water available remains the same and may even decline.”

Thousands of customers have already been approached for their views and these have helped to shape this consultation. Many were surprised by how much more there is to water than they’d thought, so a booklet and a website have been created to give people the information they need.

Called ‘Discover, Discuss, Decide, it explains the challenges and choices Anglian Water faces right across its business.
Local MP, Stephen Metcalfe commented: “This is an opportunity for local people to have their say on a service that affects everyone in South Basildon and East Thurrock.”

“Anglian Water are extremely keen to hear from residents and I would encourage everyone to have their say in how the water provider spends its money in the future. Please don’t miss an opportunity to make your voice heard!”

The consultation runs until March 10th and you can take part now by visiting

Thursday, 14 February 2013

Stephen Metcalfe MP challenges Minister on ‘antibiotic apocalypse’

Stephen Metcalfe, local MP for South Basildon and East Thurrock, rose in the House of Commons last week to ask the Minister for Universities and Science, David Willets MP, what steps the Government are taking to speed up the drug development process.

The Governments chief medical officer, Professor Dame Sally Davies recently published a report in which she referred to the “broken pipeline” in the development of new drugs and warned of an apocalyptic scenario of antibiotic resistant disease in the next 20 years.

Mr Metcalfe, who is a member of the House of Commons Science and Technology Committee, used the opportunity in the House of Commons to get a Government response to this extremely pressing issue.

In response to Mr Metcalfe’s question, the Minister stated: “the Secretary of State for Health will, I understand, be launching an action plan on that particular issue in the spring. What we are doing in the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills is backing investment and ensuring a pipeline of new drugs for the future.”

“That is what the patent box is about, it is what research and development tax credits are about and it is what the new biomedical catalyst is about. We can be confident of the support we are providing for medical research in the UK.”

Mr Metcalfe later commented: “This is an extremely important issue and one that must be pushed up the Government agenda. I welcome the Minister’s response and will continue to monitor the situation closely. I will also continue to champion Professor Dame Sally’s message. We must work to fix the broken pipeline and this must be done sooner rather than later.”

Stephen Metcalfe MP stands up for constituents in horse meat fiasco

Stephen Metcalfe, local MP for South Basildon and East Thurrock, rose in the House of Commons today to stand up for constituents who have been defrauded by the horse meat scandal.

Mr Metcalfe’s comments come in the midst of great controversy surrounding the sale of ‘beef’ products which have been found to contain substantial amounts of horse meat. Supermarkets Tesco’s, Co-op, Lidl, Aldi have all stocked horse meat products while Findus beef lasagne was also found to a prime culprit.

The local MP for South Basildon and East Thurrock said to the Minister of State for the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, David Heath MP: “Families in Basildon and Thurrock have been defrauded in the food that they have bought. Does the Minister share my anger that the retailers have allowed that to happen?”

To which the Minister responded: “We should all be outraged that people have been given meat that is not as described on the packet. The Government stand four-square with the consumer who goes into the shop and buys the product, and say, “This will not do.”

“It is unacceptable and those who have allowed it to happen, whether through insufficient checking or criminal activity, must be brought to book.”

Mr Metcalfe commented: “Whilst I must stress that there is no human health risk to this scandal, it is simply unacceptable that the people of South Basildon and East Thurrock have been so grossly mislead.”

“I welcome the Governments staunch position on this issue and hope that the perpetrators of this crime feel the full force of the law.”

Stephen Metcalfe MP gets a grilling from local students

Stephen Metcalfe, local MP for South Basildon and East Thurrock, received a grilling from local students when they visited him in Parliament today.

Pupils from both Woodlands School and the Basildon Academies made the most of the meeting with their local MP by quizzing him on a range of both local and national issues.

Mr Metcalfe commented: “Engaging with schools is one of the most important parts of my job so it was great to welcome the students to the Houses of Parliament and to give them an insight into what I do. They asked some fantastic questions and I hope they enjoyed the experience as much as I did.”

Demonstrating a keen interest in current affairs, the pupils asked questions on a wide range of topics from the state of the economy to Britain’s membership of the EU, in addition to more local issues such as the situation at Basildon Hospital and developments on Dry Street.

Mr Metcalfe added: “I was extremely impressed by the young people from both schools. They are clearly up to date and well informed about key issues and they certainly gave me food for thought.”

“I will continue to work hard to engage with and encourage schools throughout my constituency and look forward to welcoming more students to Westminster in the future.”

Local MP backs Autism Campaign

Stephen Metcalfe MP with Carol Homden,
Director of the National Autistic Society

Stephen Metcalfe, local MP for South Basildon & East Thurrock, is  backing a new charity campaign calling for more support for people with autism from black and ethnic minority (BME) backgrounds.

Stephen is supporting the National Autistic Society (NAS), the UK’s leading charity for people with autism, in its efforts to highlight the obstacles that often prevent people from these communities accessing the support and services they need to live with the lifelong developmental disability.

The prevalence of autism is thought to be the same across all ethnicities, with around 1 in 100 people in the UK having the condition. This means that over 100,000 people living in the UK who have autism are from a black or ethnic minority community. But despite this figure, individuals and families from BME backgrounds who are affected by autism have told the NAS that they often have to battle to receive appropriate support from their communities and local authorities.

The campaign was formally launched in Parliament this Tuesday, with MPs and Peers from across the political spectrum meeting individuals and families from BME backgrounds affected by autism. The NAS now hopes to carry out the largest ever survey into the experiences of people with autism from BME backgrounds.

Stephen said: “Listening to professionals, family members and people with autism from black and ethnic minority communities was moving and inspiring. I am backing this campaign as it’s vital that people from these communities receive the support and understanding they need. Everyone affected by autism has the right to live the life that they choose." 

Tom Madders, Head of Campaigns at the NAS, said: “Anecdotally, we know that people with autism from ethnic minority backgrounds face huge challenges. We frequently hear from individuals and families who say that cultural and language barriers prevent them from accessing the support they desperately need.

“But there are no robust statistics to show the true state of affairs for people from BME communities. This needs to be urgently assessed, so that local authorities can properly map out how they can deliver the support and services people with autism need.”

Wednesday, 13 February 2013

Stephen Metcalfe MP encourages local residents to save on energy costs through new Green Deal

Stephen Metcalfe, local MP for South Basildon and East Thurrock, is encouraging constituents to save on energy bills with the new Green Deal which went live last week.

The Green Deal is the Coalition Government’s new initiative to transform Britain’s homes. With buildings in Britain among the least efficient in the world, the Green Deal gives homes and businesses a new way of paying for energy efficient improvements such as insulation and new heating systems.

There are 45 different types of improvements currently available under the Green Deal in South Basildon and East Thurrock, helping people warm up their homes and pay for some or all of the improvements over time through their electricity bill.

From last week households in England and Wales who use the Green Deal to make energy saving home improvements will also qualify for hundreds of pounds of cashback from the Green Deal Cashback Scheme. The more work households decide to have done, the more cash they could receive with packages potentially worth over £1,000.

Stephen Metcalfe said: “The Green Deal will transform the energy efficiency market and put consumers in charge. It’s a fantastic new scheme that will allow people to make their homes warmer and save energy at the same time.”

“And it’s not just consumers who will benefit. The Green Deal is also great for local businesses, creating a new market and new jobs in South Basildon and East Thurrock. I’m truly excited about the potential the Green Deal has to transform Britain’s homes.”

For more information on how you can start saving with the Green Deal, please ring: 0300 123 1234, or visit:

Stephen Metcalfe MP visits new and improved St Andrews Hospital

(Left to right: Alexandra Thurlby, Hospital Director, Ron Gutu, Head of Clinical Services,  Stephen Metcalfe MP,  Cllr Ann Naylor, Cabinet Member for Health and  Wellbeing,  Essex County Council and Dr Mark Morris, Clinical Director).

Stephen Metcalfe, local MP for South Basildon and South Thurrock, recently visited the new and improved facilities at St Andrews Healthcare Hospital on a visit last week.

St Andrews is a charity specialising in mental health, learning disabilities, autism and brain injury. The centre in North Benfleet is one of four located across the country and has recently completed a £5 million improvement programme.

The redeveloped facilities and services coupled with a new team of national experts means that the hospital is now equipped to meet the needs of, and treat even the most difficult of cases.

Mr Metcalfe commented: “The facilities at St Andrews are extremely impressive. They already had a reputation for excellence but these improvements allow the level of care to be taken one step further and I have no doubt that the patients and staff alike will reap the benefits of this.”

Improvements to the site include new therapeutic environments, a rapid response service for men and women needing urgent assessment and a new Neuropsychiatry Service for working age men. Patients will also notice improvements in their living area which now includes refurbished rooms with en-suite bathrooms and more homely communal areas.

Stephen Metcalfe added: “I sincerely hope that the redesigning of services at the hospital will allow people to access the help that they need in a secure environment.”

“St Andrews is the largest provider of NHS care in the charity sector and I would like to thank all those involved for their continuing efforts to improve patient care and for providing such an excellent service to those who need it.”

Stephen added: “I am was also pleased to hear that the Hospital now has regular contact with the local Parish Council and they are working together to improve wider communications.”

Stephen Metcalfe MP gets a grilling from local students

Stephen Metcalfe, local MP for South Basildon and East Thurrock, received a grilling from local students when they visited him in Parliament yesterday.

Pupils from both Woodlands School and the Basildon Academies made the most of the meeting with their local MP by quizzing him on a range of both local and national issues.

Mr Metcalfe commented: “Engaging with schools is one of the most important parts of my job so it was great to welcome the students to the Houses of Parliament and to give them an insight into what I do. They asked some fantastic questions and I hope they enjoyed the experience as much as I did.”

Demonstrating a keen interest in current affairs, the pupils asked questions on a wide range of topics from the state of the economy to Britain’s membership of the EU, in addition to more local issues such as the situation at Basildon Hospital and developments on Dry Street.

Mr Metcalfe added: “I was extremely impressed by the young people from both schools. They are clearly up to date and well informed about key issues and they certainly gave me food for thought.”

“I will continue to work hard to engage with and encourage schools throughout my constituency and look forward to welcoming more students to Westminster in the future.”

Monday, 11 February 2013

Stephen Metcalfe MP welcomes Basildon Council’s Tax Freeze

Having called for a freeze on numerous occasions, Stephen Metcalfe, local MP for South Basildon and East Thurrock, has welcomed Basildon Council’s decision to freeze Council Tax for another year.

This latest move will mean that residents are in real terms paying less than they were three years ago.

Mr Metcalfe commented: “This is great news for Basildon residents. Under the previous Labour Government, Council Tax in Basildon more than doubled. This Conservative led council is committed to ensuring that this does not happen again so that more money is in people’s pockets where it rightly belongs.”

Residents living in a Band D property will once again pay £252.81 towards the borough’s portion of this year’s overall Council tax. This will be added to the amounts set by Essex county council, Essex Fire Authority and The Essex Police Authority to give the total Council Tax Paid – which last year was £1538.

Stephen Metcalfe has also praised Basildon Council for their stringent fiscal policies which have made the freeze possible.

He said: “I must congratulate Basildon Council on being able to deliver this freeze. They started making savings in 2008 and this has put them in a strong position now, and for the future.

“Fortunately, because the Council has planned ahead, Labour have not been able to do to Basildon what they did to the country.”

“I now hope that Thurrock Council, Essex County Council and the Fire and Police Authorities will also follow suit and freeze their proportion of Council Tax, giving hard pressed Council Tax payer a well earned respite from ever increasing rises.”

Stephen Metcalfe MP welcomes PCC Nick Alston to Basildon meeting

On Friday 8th February, Stephen Metcalfe, local MP for South Basildon and East Thurrock, joined Essex Police and Crime Commissioner, Nick Aslton, for a public meeting on policing and crime in Essex.

In the first of a series of meetings being held throughout the County, Mr Alston met with a number of local residents as well as local MP’s Stephen Metcalfe and John Baron and Basildon’s District Commander Glen Pavelin as well as many other senior figures from the Police and the local community.

Mr Metcalfe commented: “This was a fantastic opportunity to get some answers to some of the tough questions about local crime and policing. PCC’s are a vital means through which we can now hold the police to account and I look forward to seeing how Nick Alston’s plans will help to cut crime in the future.”

Key areas of discussion included household burglary and vehicle crime, drug dealing, the Felmores Approved Premises and the Police and Crime Plan for Essex. There was also an open floor session where people were able to raise their own concerns.
Stephen Metcalfe added: “Mr Alston aims to hold a public meeting in every district twice a year. These are important events for anyone who cares about local policing and I would encourage my constituents to attend future meetings.”

“It is vital that crime continues to fall in Essex and I will work closely with Mr Alston to ensure that this is the case in South Basildon and East Thurrock.”

Thursday, 7 February 2013

Stephen Metcalfe MP calls on residents of South Basildon and East Thurrock to share their views on the EU

Stephen Metcalfe, local MP for South Basildon and East Thurrock is calling on his constituents to share their views on Britain's relationship with the EU by taking this short survey

In light of the Prime Ministers landmark speech earlier this month, Mr Metcalfe is keen to hear what his constituents think. He commented: "This is an extremely important issue and it therefore extremely important that I know what my constituents are thinking. If you have a minute, please share you thoughts by following the link above."

To read a full article on Stephen's reaction to the Prime Minister's speech, please click here.

Wednesday, 6 February 2013

Draw your own crime map on enhanced Police website

Stephen Metcalfe, local MP for South Basildon and East Thurrock, welcomes a new online tool which allows local people to check on the safety of their estate, village, or route to work. Users can make their own personalised crime maps on the Government website ‘’.

The new ‘Draw Your Own Area’ function celebrates the two-year anniversary of the successful website. Since its launch the service has received 548 million hits with an average of over 365,000 a day in the last month alone.

‘Draw Your Own Area’ means visitors will for the first time be able to plot on a map the precise area for which they want information on crime, anti-social behaviour and outcomes, rather than relying on a standard one mile radius from a given postcode.

Welcoming the new tool, Mr Metcalfe said: “’’ is a great resource. It has proved very popular with users locally and across the country, with hundreds of millions of hits since its launch. These new features mean local people in South Basildon and East Thurrock will have even more information at their fingertips about crime in our area. It means we can all hold the police and our Police and Crime Commissioner to account to ensure we keep driving crime down.”

Conservative Police and Criminal Justice Minister Damian Green MP added: “Crime maps have been a phenomenal success with over 548 million hits on ‘’ since its launch two years ago. There is a huge appetite for transparency and information across the Criminal Justice System and we are responding by enhancing the information provided on ‘”

Local business proves doing good is good for business

A BASILDON company has proved that doing good is good for business.

Rawley Plant Ltd, based on the Burnt Mills Industrial estate, has a lot to celebrate: after 51 years trading, the company has recorded its best ever year.

On Friday that success was made even sweeter when Stephen Metcalfe MP presented them with a certificate for attaining the Responsible Business Standard at Gold Level.

Mr Metcalfe congratulated the company for being a trail blazer in demonstrating responsible business practices and hoped many other businesses would follow their example.

He commented: “It is very clear that you have achieved this standard because of the ethos embedded at the very heart of your company."

"We need more companies to consider their impact on the environment, their staff and customers, and the wider community if we want to create a better society for now and for future generations.”

The Responsible Businesses Standard measures a business’ performance in a number of key areas to ensure it is operating efficiently and ethically, meeting legislation, and considering its impact on people and the environment.

Not only did Rawley Plant achieve an overall Gold, but also easily achieved Gold in each of the six key areas (workplace; environment; community; marketplace; ethics, values & transparency; business processes/business continuity.)

Susan Rom and Graham Clarke of Bizphit, who carried out the robust and enquiring audit,  praised the company saying they didn’t think they would find a business more worthy of a gold standard award, adding: “The business was an absolute pleasure to visit and the attention to detail in all aspects of the business was a pleasure to see.”

Rawley Plant provides a range of site accommodation and toilet hire services, including their own new range of ecoCabins. Howard Rawley, the current MD, is emphatic about providing first class customer service and works to the maxim of “happy staff = happy customers.” Clearly the staff do enjoy working at Rawley Pant: indeed, one employee has been there for 44 years. 

Stephen Metcalfe MP for South Basildon & East Thurrock joins the campaign to stop waste in the European Parliament

The campaign to end the European Parliament's second seat is being led in the East of England by Conservative MEP Vicky Ford. She is urging people to follow Stephen Metcalfe MP's lead and sign the e-petition "Stop the Strasbourg Circus".

Every month the entire European Parliament relocates from Brussels to Strasbourg for a week of plenary voting sessions, meaning thousands of MEPs, staff, translators, journalists and lobbyists make the journey, along with 25 trucks carrying 4,000 trunks filled with MEPs papers. This monthly exercise costs the taxpayer around €200 million per year as well as causing approximately 20,000 tonnes of unnecessary CO2 to be emitted. In addition to this, the buildings in Strasbourg cost  approximately €457 million, plus heating and lighting bills for buildings which are left largely unused for around 300 days per year.

The EU treaties state that the European Parliament must meet in Strasbourg 12 times a year. There is increasing support amongst MEPs, who just last month voted 4 to 1 to changing the rules and holding all sessions in Brussels, but the change needs the agreement of governments from all 27 member states of the European Council.  Mr Fox and Mrs Ford have launched an online petition asking the Prime Minister to demand a change in European law so that the European Parliament need only meet in one place.

Mrs. Ford explains "At a time when national governments and local councils are having to cut budgets and families are all feeling the pinch, it is absurd that so much taxpayers money is wasted on the travelling circus between Brussels and Strasbourg. I would urge everybody to sign the petition, and to tell as many people as possible about it so that we can try and get this item on the agenda. The EU is currently negotiating a 7 year budget and if this does not get put on the table during those negotiations then the travelling circus will be destined to continue for many more years."

The petition can be found here and more information can be found on the campaign website.

Stephen Metcalfe MP asks PCC Nick Alston what is being done to reduce crime in Essex

Stephen Metcalfe MP with PCC Nick Aslton

Stephen Metcalfe, local MP for South Basildon and Thurrock, has written to Essex Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC), Nick Alston, to ask what is being done to lower crime in Essex.

Recent statistics show that whilst crime in Essex has fallen by 1.68%, it is significantly lower than other areas in the country, including the City of London where crime fell by 16.19%.

Mr Metcalfe commented: “It is of course a positive thing that crime in Essex has fallen, but I want to know what is being done to ensure that it continues to fall, and to ask why it we have seen such a small decrease in comparison to other counties.”

“I have written to PCC Nick Alston to get some answers to these questions and will continue to work with him to create safer streets in South Basildon and East Thurrock. I am also pleased to announce that Mr Alston will be visiting Basildon on the 8th February. This will give people the chance to meet their commissioner and to raise their concerns in person.”

“It is fantastic that we now have a public figure who we can question about local policing. PCC’s are a vital means through which we can hold the police to account and I look forward to hearing the response from Mr Alston and to welcoming him to Basildon in February.”

Stephen Metcalfe MP: Record number of apprenticeships in South Basildon and East Thurrock

Stephen Metcalfe, local MP for South Basildon and East Thurrock, has today welcomed new statistics that show a record number of people in the constituency started apprenticeship in 2011/12. The data also has provisional results for the number of apprenticeship starts in April to June 2012 which show that  280 people started apprenticeships in just three months.

In the last financial year, 900 people started an apprenticeship in South Basildon and East Thurrock – an increase of 61% per cent compared to the last year of the Labour Government.

Mr Metcalfe commented: “With the world around us changing, we will only succeed in the global race when everyone is given the chance to reach their full potential and apprenticeships are a vital means through which this can be achieved.”

“Conservatives have dramatically increased the number of apprenticeships on offer compared to the last Labour Government. These record levels of apprenticeships are fantastic news for our country, for South Basildon and East Thurrock, and most of all for the people whose lives are being transformed by the opportunities they offer.”