Monday, 29 April 2013

Stephen Metcalfe MP praises Gable Hall’s new Sixth Form Centre

Stephen Metcalfe, local MP for South Basildon and East Thurrock, has heaped praise on Gable Hall’s new Sixth Form and Skills Centre after a visit last Friday.

The new building hosts a suite of classrooms and IT facilities, a reception, cafe area, and also facilitates new courses including vocational diplomas in motor vehicles and construction.

The centre at Gable of Hall forms part of the Stanford and Corringham Sixth Form Centre which sees Gable Hall, Hassenbrook, and St Clere’s working in partnership to serve local students. The group already have a proven track record of academic success and pastoral care.

Mr Metcalfe was given a tour of the new facilities and saw firsthand the positive impact that the centre will have on students.

He commented: “It was fantastic to see the new Sixth Form centre in action.  I had the opportunity to talk to several pupils who all seemed extremely pleased and excited by the new building and I can already see that is having a positive impact on their learning.”

“The expansion has also allowed the partnership to offer new courses meaning that the centre now caters for everything from the academic to the vocational. This is a great step in the right direction which will see even more young people reach their full potential when they come through the gates at Gable Hall.”

“I look forward to seeing how the centre develops in the future and will continue to offer my support to the schools involved in whatever way I can.”

Stephen Metcalfe MP welcomes new TechBacc

Stephen Metcalfe, local MP for South Basildon and East Thurrock, has today welcomed the new Technical Baccalaureate designed to help young people get the high-quality vocational education they deserve.

The TechBacc, announced by the Government this week, will combine three key elements – a rigorous vocational qualification, a core maths qualification, and an extended project to test literacy skills.

This new measure will finally give vocational education the high status it deserves — putting it on a par with A-level study and recognising excellence. It will give young people a first-class vocational alternative to academic routes, ensuring they have the technical ability employers want, and giving Britain the skilled workforce it needs to compete in the global race.

Mr Metcalfe commented: “This announcement is fantastic news for young people in South Basildon and East Thurrock who want to work hard towards a technically skilled job or apprenticeship.”

“For too long, too many students haven’t had the chance to study for high-quality vocational qualifications that are recognised by employers. This measure will ensure that young people receive a rigorous education in the skills employers’ value and help them get the jobs they deserve.”

Skills Minister, Matthew Hancock added: “The TechBacc will be a mark of achievement for young people who successfully study three key elements – a rigorous high-quality vocational course, maths and literacy. We are being clear to our young people about the skills they need to succeed and get good jobs.”

“We want an education system in which everyone can reach their potential and our reforms to post-16 qualifications, including the introduction of the new TechBacc will provide that. They will incentivise the development of high-quality courses and incentivise schools and colleges to offer the courses that get young people on in life.”

Stephen Metcalfe MP: Drop in local crime is clear sign police reforms are working

Stephen Metcalfe, local MP for South Basildon and East Thurrock has given a warm welcome to the news that recorded crime in Essex has fallen over the last twelve months.

Latest figures from the independent Office for National Statistics show that recorded crime in Essex fell by 4%.

Commenting, local MP Stephen Metcalfe said: “4% may not be the highest fall in reported crime, but it is nonetheless significant and has been welcomed by people across South Basildon and East Thurrock. Our hardworking local police officers should be proud of their success.”

“These latest figures are clear evidence that Government reforms to policing are working. This Conservative Government is on the side of people who do the right thing and as a result, their policies have resulted in safer communities up and down the country. I look forward to seeing further reductions as the reforms really take root.”

Thursday, 25 April 2013

Stephen Metcalfe MP supports competition to get kids excited about manufacturing and engineering

Stephen Metcalfe MP is proud to be supporting the We Made It! competition in South Basildon and East Thurrock.

The competition works with local schools and businesses to help young people appreciate the exciting opportunities that a career in engineering can offer and understand that manufacturing is about design and creativity as well as hands-on making of products.

The competition invites 11 -14 year olds to submit their design for a product, gadget, gizmo, toy or tool they would like to see made into a real-life prototype.

The best entries nationwide will be invited to one of the UK’s Fab Labs, where they will use the very latest high-tech fabrication methods and find out how to bring their ideas to life with the Lab’s experts.

At the end of this year, Stephen Metcalfe MP will invite the winner of our local competition to the awards ceremony in parliament where they will have the opportunity to meet the heads of the manufacturing organisations involved in the project and learn how to take their career further.

Commenting on the competition Stephen said: “I’m very proud to be supporting this great project to inspire young people to turn their designs and ideas into real products. I am looking forward to seeing the innovative ideas of our students here in South Basildon and East Thurrock and I’m excited about choosing our winner to put forward to the national rounds.”

“The UK desperately needs more young people who aspire to engineering and high-level manufacturing careers and I welcome this initiative to help students gain a better understanding of how the industry and businesses involved in manufacturing and engineering actually work.”

To find out more on the competition pupils can visit the competition's website:

Stephen Metcalfe MP highlights local benefits of defence exports

Stephen Metcalfe, Local MP for South Basildon and East Thurrock, contributed to a recent exchange in the House of Commons by putting forward a question to the Secretary of State for Defence last week.

Stephen asked “Will the Minister explain to those who do not necessarily understand the merit of defence exports the incredible benefit they deliver, not only for our armed forces but for the wider British economy?”

Mr Dunne replied, Our armed forces benefit directly from responsible defence exports. Not only do they help build bilateral relationships and defence co-operation with our key allies, but they raise capability, enhance the interoperability of allies and partner nations, and contribute to regional security around the globe.”

Stephen is keen to support defence exports as there are direct links to his own constituency of South Basildon and East Thurrock. Companies such as SELEX ES are international leaders in electronic and information technologies for defence and aerospace systems as well as numerous other areas. Companies in this sector provide excellent job opportunities and career prospect for local people and are an important part of the UK’s economic activity and exports, as well as providing our brave troops with cutting edge technology.

Wednesday, 24 April 2013

Stephen Metcalfe MP delighted by Basildon’s success in Primary Engineer competition

Stephen Metcalfe, local MP for South Basildon and East Thurrock, today expressed his delight at the success of Basildon primary schools in the regional final of the Primary Engineer competition last Friday.

Primary Engineer runs annual challenge events for schools enabling them to come together and compete against one another with model cars they have worked on in the class room. These may be made from shoe boxes or from motorised kits provided the organisation.  Their aim is to get children up and down the country excited about STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) subjects and inspired to take up careers in these fields in later life.

Basildon was represented by five primary schools in the final, with Ryedene Primary School triumphant in two out of the three categories. Ryedene’s Policemobile won the award for best theme whilst their ‘Marvellous Medics’ won the prize for Best Communicators. Great Berry Primary School’s ‘Master Engineers’ also came second in the Best Communicators category.

Local MP Stephen Metcalfe has long been a champion of STEM subjects in South Basildon and East Thurrock and eagerly accepted the invitation to join the event.

He later commented: “I was delighted to attend the regional final and even happier to see Basildon so strongly represented. The children did their schools and the local area proud and I would like to congratulate all who took part whether they won an award or not.”

“As well as being an enjoyable event, I hope that the children have been inspired to take up STEM subjects. It is so important that we continue to build on the already strong engineering base in Basildon and these children are going to play a key role in that. By showing them that engineering can be fun and exciting through events such as this, we are literally laying the foundations for a better future for Basildon and Thurrock.”

Stephen Metcalfe MP asks Labour to apologise to the people of South Basildon and East Thurrock in PMQs

Today Local MP Stephen Metcalfe rose to the floor of the House of Commons to ask the Prime Minister if he agreed that Labour should apologise to the people of South Basildon and East Thurrock for the mess they left the country in.

In a heated Prime Minister’s Questions, Mr Metcalfe managed to get the last word when he asked David Cameron: “Does the Prime Minister agree that one does not solve a debt crisis by borrowing more, and that for the Opposition to have any credibility they need to acknowledge the mess they made, apologise to my constituents, and just say sorry?”

To which the Prime Minister, in full agreement, responded: “My hon. Friend is absolutely right. On the Government Benches, we know we have to get borrowing down. Frankly, in the past week what we have seen is the right hon. Member for Doncaster North (Edward Miliband) in his true colours: too weak to stand up to the shadow Chancellor on the deficit, too weak to stand up to his Back Benchers on welfare, and too weak to stand up to the trade unions on just about anything.”

“It was a week in which he said goodbye to David Miliband and hello to George Galloway. No wonder Tony Blair said that they are fellow travellers, not leaders. He was absolutely right.”

Mr Metcalfe has long been campaigning for an apology from Labour for their actions in Government which left this country with the highest budget deficit of any major economy in the world and the highest deficit in our peacetime history. Despite this, Labour still refuse to admit they spent and borrowed too much.

The Conservative Government have had to take swift, decisive action to combat the problems imposed by Labour involving sweeping cuts to public spending. As a result, the deficit has been cut by a third, the private sector has created more than a 1.25 million new jobs since the election and 250,000 small businesses have been created since the election.

Mr Metcalfe later commented: “It is outrageous that Labour Ministers think it is ok to run our country into the ground and not have the decency to apologise. Until they do, they cannot speak with any credibility on the economy. The people of South Basildon and East Thurrock deserve better and whilst it is taking longer than anticipated, I have full confidence that this Conservative Government can deliver.”

Monday, 22 April 2013

Stephen Metcalfe MP welcomes two-thirds fall in metal theft

Stephen Metcalfe, local MP for South Basildon and East Thurrock, has today welcomed statistics showing a 67% drop in cable theft over the last year thanks to a set of Government measures.

The figures from Network Rail also show that there has also been a 54 per cent reduction in disruption to passenger journeys, which means just over 3,000 fewer hours of delays to hard-working people this year compared to the previous year.

Welcoming the news, local Conservative MP Stephen Metcalfe said: “Having raised this issue on the floor of the House previously, it is great news that the rate of metal theft is falling steeply. The disruption this menace causes to commuters across South Basildon and East Thurrock is unacceptable and it is right that the Government is tackling it.”

“The news that train delays caused by metal theft are reducing is especially welcome. Conservatives are on the side of people who want to work hard and get on in life and it is therefore extremely important that we are taking action to crack down on the criminals who make the morning commute a nightmare.”

Local Aerospace Apprentice visits Stephen Metcalfe MP in House of Commons

On 16 April, Chris Morris from Selex-ES in Basildon attended an apprenticeship reception in the House of Commons that was organised by ADS Group, the aerospace trade association. The event was in recognition of the role of apprentices in the £24bn UK aerospace industry. 

Chris Morris, with other Selex Apprentices’ from other sites across the UK were joined by local constituency MP Stephen Metcalfe where they discussed the many opportunities available in UK aerospace.

The event, which follows the launch of the joint industry and Government strategy for the future of UK aerospace through the Aerospace Growth Partnership (AGP), celebrated the valuable contribution of apprentices operating in this important wealth-producing sector, and highlighted the advanced technological developments they are working to develop. The keynote at the reception was provided by Skills Minister Matthew Hancock MP.

Stephen Metcalfe commented: “Selex is an example of the vibrant and growing UK aerospace industry that exists across the UK.  At a time when it is particularly difficult for young people to find a job, the sector is providing highly-skilled and rewarding apprenticeships all across the UK. 

“It was a delight to meet Chris and I was fascinated to learn about his exciting apprenticeship.”

Paul Everitt, chief executive of aerospace trade organisation ADS Group commented:
“The UK aerospace industry is the largest in Europe and second only to the US globally. It contributes over £24 billion to the economy each year and employs around 230,000 workers both directly and indirectly. Around 3,000 of these are apprentices. The skills and capabilities they are developing today will help drive growth across the UK aerospace industry in the years ahead.

“The future of the aerospace sector rests in the hands of this bright young talent. The Aerospace Growth Partnership, a unique collaboration between industry and Government, is helping to ensure the UK is best placed to maintain the UK’s share of growing and highly competitive global markets.”

Stephen Metcalfe MP meets survivors of genocide at launch of theme for Holocaust Memorial Day 2014

Stephen Metcalfe MP met Ann Kirk, who escaped Nazi Germany as a child, at the launch event for Holocaust Memorial Day 2014.

Holocaust Memorial Day (HMD) is commemorated each year on 27 January – the liberation of the Auschwitz death and concentration camp. HMD provides an opportunity for everyone to learn lessons from the Holocaust, Nazi persecution and subsequent genocides (in Cambodia, Rwanda, Bosnia and Darfur) and apply them to the present day to create a safer, better future.

The Holocaust Memorial Day Trust promotes and supports HMD activities in the UK. Each year HMDT selects a theme around which HMD activities can focus. The theme for 2014 is Journeys.
Stephen spoke to Ann about her journey to the UK. Ann was a Kindertransportee – sent unaccompanied from Germany by her parents who were desperate for her to escape anti-semitic persecution in Nazi Germany. Ann never saw her parents again.

Stephen said: ‘Ann’s story is a reminder of the importance of commemorating Holocaust Memorial Day – a day where we share the memory of the millions who were affected by the Holocaust and other genocides. I want to encourage as many people as possible in South Basildon and East Thurrock to mark HMD on 27 January 2014.’

Olivia Marks-Woldman, Chief Executive of the Holocaust Memorial Day Trust, said:
‘We were delighted that Stephen showed his support for Holocaust Memorial Day. We hope that many more people in South Basildon and East Thurrock will organise events for next year’s HMD – adding to the over 2,000 activities which took place for HMD 2013.’

Stephen Metcalfe MP welcomes prompt payment pledges after long campaign

After  long campaigning for wider use of the prompt payment code, Stephen Metcalfe, local MP for South Basildon and East Thurrock, has welcomed the news that in just four months, the number of FTSE 350 firms signing up to the Code has tripled.

The Prompt Payment Code is a code of conduct which commits signatories to pay suppliers on time, give clear guidance to suppliers and to encourage good practice.

Following a debate in the House of Commons, led by Mr Metcalfe, Business Minister Michael Fallon wrote to big businesses in November urging them to sign up to the Prompt Payment Code or be named publicly.

There are now 126 FTSE 350 firms signed up, with 94 new firms since November last year.  Three quarters of FTSE 100 companies have signed, or are in the process of signing, the Code.

The news has been welcomed by business groups, including the Federation of Small Businesses and the Forum of Private Business as well as a host of cross party MP’s who took part in the debate in November.

Mr Metcalfe commented: “This is fantastic news for small businesses in South Basildon and East Thurrock. Small business owners constantly tell me how vital prompt payment is – and this committed drive from Conservatives in Government will deliver long-term benefit for businesses up and down the country”.  

“Even yesterday, when I met with representatives from the local TBA (the Business Association) one of the main issue for discussion was getting paid by big companies, especially construction companies.”

Michael Fallon, Business Minister, commented: “Late payment is a real issue for businesses across the country. It is not fair – poor cash flow can prevent small firms growing and even push them into insolvency. We need to improve the payment culture and I welcome the response of big businesses in signing up to the common sense principles in the Prompt Payment Code.”

“But the work will not stop here. I will keep up pressure on firms to sign up and continue to ensure government leads by example in paying its suppliers on time. Central government has a good record. Now, I will be challenging other parts of the public sector to show their commitment to the principles of the Code”.

Mr Metcalfe added: “This is not just a commercial problem. It is an ethical one. SMEs are the backbone of our economy and we must make it clear to big businesses and to public sector bodies that it is simply not acceptable to pay suppliers outside of the agreed terms. I welcome the Government’s commitment to tackle the issue and I will continue to keep a close eye on the situation to ensure that businesses in South Basildon and East Thurrock get the payment terms they deserve.”

“That’s why, following yesterday’s meeting, I will be again pushing the Government to discuss with particular sectors what more can be done.” 

Wednesday, 17 April 2013

Stephen Metcalfe MP pays respect to former Prime Minister

Today Stephen Metcalfe MP paid his respects to a great leader, a great Briton, and a great Prime Minister.

Margaret Thatcher was the first woman Prime Minister in our history. She served three terms in a row, and was Prime Minister for longer than anyone for 150 years. She solved some of Britain’s deepest problems in terms of industrial relations and helped to end the Cold War. She liberated the Falklands.

So it is right that we have commemorated her with dignity and fanfare, properly marking the passing of this extraordinary woman.

Stephen said: “It was my honour and privilege to have today attended Margaret Thatcher’s Funeral. It reminded us all of both her colossal achievements and that behind the public persona lay a truly decent caring human being with strongly held religious beliefs that informed all the decision she took, truly believing that they were for the greater good.”

Stephen continued: “As I have said before, Margaret Thatcher changed not only the face of politics but the face of a nation. Through her dedication, commitment, energy and determination Mrs Thatcher secured a successful future for this country that many at the time thought unattainable. It was therefore right and proper that a nation paused today to ponder on her legacy and I am humbled that I was able to play a small part in that.”

“To my mind, Margaret Thatcher’s enduring legacy will be to have left our nation in a better state than she found it. She put the Great back in to Great Britain and gave our nation pride in itself again.”

Friday, 12 April 2013

Stephen Metcalfe MP calls on Government to pay lasting tribute to Margaret Thatcher

Stephen Metcalfe, local MP for South Basildon and East Thurrock, yesterday tabled a Parliamentary motion recognising Baroness Thatcher’s huge and positive impact on our country and calling on the Government to create an enduring testament to her contribution to the world.
The motion states: “That this House notes the sad news that Baroness Thatcher died following a stroke; recognises that she changed not only the face of politics but the face of a nation, through her dedication, commitment, energy and determination; that she secured a successful future for this country that many at the time thought unthinkable, and that her enduring legacy will be to leave a nation in a better state than she found it and calls upon the Government to commemorate Baroness Thatcher’s colossal achievements by renaming one of our International Airports, Thatcher International Airport as an enduring testament to her contribution to the world.”
Stephen Metcalfe said: “In light of Margaret Thatcher’s enormous contribution to our country I think it is entirely right and proper that we find some enduring way of recognising her incredible dedication and fortitude in the face of adversity. She was a conviction politician who put the Great back into Great Britain and we should never forget the personal commitment she made to putting our country back on track.”
“I hope the Government will pick up on this idea and create the lasting memorial Margret Thatcher deserves.”

Wednesday, 10 April 2013

Stephen Metcalfe MP launches Safer Streets campaign pilot

Stephen Metcalfe with PCC Nick Alston
Stephen Metcalfe, local MP for South Basildon and East Thurrock, is this week launching the innovative ‘Safer Streets’ campaign pilot in Felmores, Pitsea.
Pioneered by Mr Metcalfe himself and supported by the District Commander and the newly elected Police and Crime Commissioner, Nick Alston, the campaign aims to create safer and more secure neighbourhoods in South Basildon and East Thurrock through the creation of local safe zones.
Mr Metcalfe has recruited local shops, retailers, restaurants and local venues to offer a safe haven to any individual who is in danger or who feels intimidated whilst in the local area.
He commented: “The Safer Streets Campaign is about building safe zones within our community where people of all ages can feel safe and secure from crime, the fear of crime and intimidation.”
“We can do this by working together which is why we have called on local business – shops, cafes etc to agree to offer safe haven to an individual and call the police if that individual is in immediate danger or feels threatened.”
“Many local businesses have already signed up to our pilot campaign and are agreeing to display a sticker in their windows showing the community that they are part of a network of Safe Havens around the Felmores area.”
“Safer Streets is all about reducing fear of crime and assuring residents that the community is coming together to support each other.”
“Although we should take some comfort that reported crime is reducing we should never lose sight of the fact that if you are the victim of a crime it is important to you. Residents should feel heartened by the fact that Police, businesses, organisations and voluntary bodies are coming together on Felmores to support each other.”
Stephen added: “I would personally like to thank those taking part in our pilot project so far in and around Felmores, they are: Londis, The Offy Extra, Motorpoint, Eden Hair and Beauty, Allcures Pharmacy, Felmores Dental Care, Briscoe Adult Learning Centre, Two Lakes Cafe and the Northlands Park Community Centre.”
He concluded: “If the pilot campaign is successful, we hope to be able to widen the network across more of my constituency in the coming weeks and months.”

Monday, 8 April 2013

The sad death of Baroness Thatcher

Commenting on sad news that Baroness Thatcher has today died of a stroke, Stephen Metcalfe, Conservative Member of Parliament for South Basildon and East Thurrock said: “Margaret Thatcher changed not only the face of politics but the face of a nation. Through her dedication, commitment, energy and determination Mrs Thatcher secured a successful future for this country that many at the time thought unthinkable. Margaret Thatcher’s enduring legacy will be to leave a nation in a better state than she found it.”
“My condolences and deepest sympathies go to her family and close friends.”

Thursday, 4 April 2013

Supporting the work of Beat

Stephen Metcalfe MP contributed to a debate in Westminster Hall for Eating Disorders Awareness Week on 14th February. Since then he has written a blog for the country's leading charity for Eating Disorders, Beat. You can read his blog post by clicking here.

Stephen is keen to support their work and was recently contacted by Esther Rich who is a young ambassador for Beat. In June, Esther, and 8 other women  from Corpus Christi College Boat Club will be undertaking a grueling challenge to raise money for the charity by rowing 180km from Oxford to London in just four days. This is a massive undertaking and  Esther and crew would be extremely grateful for any sponsorship or support that can be offered. You can read more of their story, and donate by following this link: Stephen would like to wish the crew all the best for the challenge ahead!

Wednesday, 3 April 2013

Stephen Metcalfe MP joins hunt for an Indie Easter

Last Saturday, Stephen Metcalfe MP joined his constituents in South Basildon and East Thurrock for an Easter Egg hunt with a difference.

The ‘Indie Easter hunt’, organised by the Support for Independent Retail Campaign Group, aimed to provide a fun and seasonal activity for local shoppers whilst simultaneously promoting local independent businesses.

Participants were encouraged to visit participating shops on their Easter Egg Hunt Maps, and were awarded a sticker for every stop. When all shops had been visited the prizes of a real chocolate egg and certificate were given to all children taking part.

Local MP Stephen Metcalfe commented: “This was a great event and I was delighted to take part! It really brought the community together and was enjoyed by young and old alike. It also reminded us of the importance of our local independent retailers and I hope it will have encouraged people in South Basildon and East Thurrock to shop locally and support local businesses.”

Shopping locally is extremely beneficial for South Basildon and East Thurrock. The Independent Retail Campaign suggest that for every £1 pound spent locally, around 50-70p comes back into the local economy. For the same £1 spent out of town or online. Only 5p circulates back into the local community.

Mr Metcalfe added: “The positive social and economic impact of shopping locally really can’t be underestimated. I would like to thank all of my constituents for supporting their community retailers throughout the year and would encourage them to continue to shop locally!”

If you would like to find independent shops near you, please visit:  If you are a local business it’s free to register to be in the directory.