Monday, 22 July 2013

Stephen Metcalfe MP supports the Letter Box Club

Last week Stephen Metcalfe, local MP for South Basildon and East Thurrock, wrote to Basildon Council asking them to support a fantastic initiative managed by the Booktrust known as the Letter Box Club.

The programme provides enjoyable educational support for children in the care system aged between 7 and 13. Each child enrolled by their participating local authority is sent a parcel of books, maths activities, stationary, and other materials once every month for six months from May to October.

Over the six-month period the parcels will also include other items such as a library joining card or information about how to join a library, name plates, bookmarks and letters from a selection of children’s authors.

Mr Metcalfe commented: “Research shows that children in care underachieve in education. We should be doing everything possible to change this. The Letter Box Club provides a fun, personal, and exciting means of doing so and have thus far shown it to have a demonstrable impact, helping many children make significant improvements in their standardised score in reading.”

Over 121 local authorities signed up for the 2013 scheme and it is hoped that more will follow suit in 2014.

Mr Metcalfe added: “I would urge both Basildon and Thurrock Council to sign up for next year’s programme so that more children in the local area can benefit from this fantastic opportunity.”

The Letter Box Club is also available for children placed for adoption and for post-adoption support. If you are an adoptive parent and you think your child would benefit from receiving the parcels then please contact the Letter Box Club on 020 8516 2993. Alternatively, for further general information please see:

Thursday, 18 July 2013

Stephen Metcalfe MP says “Thank You” to everyone who made submissions about the new Lower Thames Crossing

Last week Stephen Metcalfe, local MP for South Basildon and East Thurrock, supported by local Ward Councillors Mike Revell and Sue Little joined a local group of resident in Orsett in a final push to encourage people to take part in the consultation regarding a new lower Thames crossing.

The whole day was a huge success with hundreds of people making submissions on the day via the online portal that had been set up. Cllr’s , residents, and the MP were on hand throughout the day to talk through the Options and to explain why they were particularly opposing Option C.

The submissions made will provide further evidence of local opposition to the Government’s proposals to locate a crossing connecting the M2 with the A13 and the M25 between junctions 29 and 30.

Stephen Metcalfe, who recently submitted his own response to the lower Thames crossing consultation, commented: “I was extremely pleased to have the opportunity to get into the community and talk to local people about their views on the lower Thames crossing consultation. It is abundantly clear that Option C is not right for the local area and I made this very clear in my submission to the Department for Transport. I would therefore like to thank everyone who took part either in organising the final push or for submitting their view to the consultation.”

Cllr Sue Little said: “I am delighted at the positive response received by local residents and would like to thank all those who participated in this campaign against option C.”

The consultation on the crossing is now closed and responses are currently being analysed. The outcome of this analysis will be available to download soon from:

The local MP added: “We must now wait for the outcome of the consultation before deciding on our next course of action. Ideally, the Government will have listened and taken note of the very reasonable opposition to Option C. If this is the case, we can then move forward to looking at solutions for reducing traffic at the Dartford Crossing that do not have such a detrimental impact on the local community.”

Wednesday, 17 July 2013

Stephen Metcalfe MP calls on Government to support Basildon Hospital as it is placed in special measures

Stephen Metcalfe, local MP for South Basildon and East Thurrock, has welcomed the findings of the Keogh Review and has expressed his confidence that the new management regime has the ability to put right the failures of the past.

Stephen Metcalfe MP said: “It was not a surprise that Basildon Hospital was one of 14 Hospitals selected to be investigated and again, not surprising that it is one of eleven hospitals now in special measures as a result of the Keogh review.”

“We have known for a long time that the hospital faces a number of serious challenges and I am pleased that these are now being addressed in a robust fashion. Under the new leadership, progress has been made and we are undoubtedly heading in the right direction.”

“There is clearly still a lot to do and this will take time but I have every confidence that the Hospital can rise to the challenge of meeting the measures outlined in the Keogh report.  I will do all I can to support this process and look forward to seeing a much improved hospital serving the local community in the future.”

“The shame is it has taken nearly 12 years to get to a point where we are really tackling the challenges. As early as 2001 it was identified that the hospitals had higher than expected mortality rates and yet nothing seemed to be done until 2009 when an investigation was launched, four weeks after the Hospital had been rated ‘Good’ by the previous now failed inspection regime. For each of the preceding years the Hospital was judged to be “Good” while the mortality rate was vastly higher than expected, this begs the question – why was nothing done before 2009, and why was no one highlighting the discrepancy between the rating and the reality?”

Since 2010 and with work behind the scenes from local MPs, the Hospital has started to make progress – the Hospital now have a new Chairman, a new Chief Executive and a new board and management team, we all now must support this new regime to make the changes need to deliver safe hospital and quality healthcare.

In response to a question from Stephen Metcalfe in the House of Commons yesterday, Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt, replied: “We will, of course, give every support to the management at Basildon to turn around their hospitals.” He also commented on the number of nurses which have increased by 100 since the last election, and will increase by a further 200 in light of the report.

After the statement, Mr Metcalfe congratulated the Secretary of State for putting patients first and for starting to create a more open and transparent National Health Service.

Stephen Metcalfe MP visits Ryedene Community Primary School to promote Christmas stamp competition

Stephen Metcalfe, local MP for South Basildon and East Thurrock, paid a visit to Ryedene Community Primary School this week to promote Royal Mail’s Christmas stamp competition.

When Mr Metcalfe arrived, the children were busy painting their designs for the competition which will give local primary schoolchildren the chance to create an official Christmas stamp for the first time in more than 30 years.

Launched by children’s author and illustrator Lauren Child, the competition is open to primary school aged pupils from 4-11, and will give two winners the chance to see their design used by millions of people sending festive greetings to friends and family across the country.

The theme of the competition is “What does the Christmas season mean to you?” and the designs can be religious or secular. As with all Special Stamps issued by Royal Mail, both winning designs will have to be approved by The Queen.

Two winning designs from children will be selected by a panel of judges, and their designs will appear on one of the 1st and one of the 2nd Class Christmas Stamps from this year’s range.

Mr Metcalfe wrote to all primary schools in South Basildon and East Thurrock encouraging them to take part in the competition and was said to be delighted that Ryedene Community Primary School are participating.

After his visit he commented: “It was brilliant to visit Ryedene and to see what ideas the children have had for their entries. It was great to see so many students getting involved - the standard really was fantastic and I wish every student the best of luck with their entry.”

“I would like to thank Royal Mail for giving the young people this once in a lifetime opportunity and I hope that this year I will be sending my Christmas cards using stamps designed by a child in South Basildon and East Thurrock!”

Tuesday, 16 July 2013

Stephen Metcalfe MP calls for oil pricing inquiry

Stephen Metcalfe, local MP for South Basildon and East Thurrock, today joined colleagues from across the House and lead spokesmen for FairFuelUK, Quentin Willson, to petition the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) for a full and transparent inquiry into the oil pricing process.

The FairFuelUK petition contains over 30,000 signatures from campaign supporters collected in just 5 days and asks the OFT to actively investigate oil price manipulation – something European and American regulators are already doing.

A banner was also unveiled as part of a call for a vigorous inquiry by the UK’s Fair Market Protection body.

Mr Metcalfe commented: “When the global price of oil goes up, naturally, the cost of fuel at the pumps goes up. My constituents won’t be surprised to learn that when the price of oil comes down, the cost of fuel does not always follow suit.”

“This has to change. The price of fuel affects everyone, from businesses to families with the poorest being hit twice as hard as the rich. This is unacceptable and I was therefore extremely keen to make the most of an opportunity to lobby the OFT on this issue.”

The average Briton spends 10% of their disposable income on fuel, whilst the poorest spend 27%.

In response to the meeting, the OFT released a statement saying: “The OFT recognises that the price of petrol and diesel is a subject of significant public concern...We continue to welcome any new information about this market. Where we receive credible evidence of potentially anti-competitive behaviour, we will look to take action, as we have done in other markets.”

Mr Metcalfe added: “My colleagues, FairFuelUK, and I, believe that the evidence is there. We will continue to campaign for a full investigation like our American and European counterparts so that our constituents get a fair price at the pumps.”

Stephen Metcalfe MP praises a ‘Fantastique’ performance of A Midsummer Night’s Dream

Stephen Metcalfe, local MP for South Basildon and East Thurrock, has heaped praise on La Danse Fantastique’s recent musical performance of Shakespeare’s ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’.

Mr Metcalfe, who has supported the local performing arts school on numerous occasions, said that: “The performance was brilliant. Le Danse Fantastique well and truly lived up to their name and I would like to congratulate all those involved.”

Le Danse Fantastique was founded in 1994 and has since grown into a tremendously successful performing arts school with over 130 students of all ages and abilities.  Able bodied students are taught alongside those with physical problems, sensory impairments, and learning difficulties, opening up the world of music and dance to all young people and making inclusion and integration the norm.

The performance featured a 39 strong cast of young people alongside some seasoned professionals and was directed by Le Danse Fantastique’s founder, Moira Brock.

The local MP added: “Aside from the brilliant performances, one of my favourite things about Le Danse Fantastique is their commitment to inclusivity. This show demonstrates that the highest of standards can be attained without excluding anyone and this is something to be very proud of.”

“I look forward to supporting the school at their future events and once again I would like to congratulate all involved in A Midsummer Night’s Dream.”

Stephen Metcalfe MP invites public contributions to stop and search consultation

Stephen Metcalfe MP has welcomed a six-week consultation on changes to how police in England and Wales use stop-and-search powers and he is inviting local people in South Basildon and East Thurrock to make their own contribution.

Announcing the consultation Home Secretary Theresa May told the House of Commons that around one million stop-and-searches take place each year – but with only 9 per cent leading to an arrest.

She added that it takes an average of 16 minutes to conduct a stop and search and process the details, amounting to 312,000 hours each year - the equivalent of 145 full-time police officers.

In Essex 3,816 stop and searches were carried out in 2011/12 with 373 resultant arrests: an arrest rate of 10%. This compares to a national rate of 9 per cent.

Welcoming the consultation, Mr Metcalfe said: “Police stop and search powers are important in the daily fight against crime, especially in combating gangs, knife crime and drug offences.”

“But the powers must be applied fairly and in a way that builds community confidence in the police.  When stop and search is misapplied, it can be a waste of police time and public money.”

“I encourage local people in South Basildon and East Thurrock to respond to the consultation so that their views and experiences can be taken into account as the Government reviews these powers.”

For further information and to take part in the consultation, please visit:

Monday, 15 July 2013

Stephen Metcalfe MP makes local views heard in Lower Thames Crossing consultation

Stephen Metcalfe MP has made local views heard in his response to the Lower Thames crossing consultation having gathered the opinions of over 120 local people in South Basildon and East Thurrock.

After attaching a survey on the crossing options to his monthly newsletter, Mr Metcalfe was inundated with responses which he then used, alongside other correspondence, to respond to the consultation.

 Mr Metcalfe delivered his response along with a report detailing the views of constituents by hand to the Department of Transport earlier today.

The options for the crossing, all of which would have a significant impact on Thurrock residents, are:

  • Option A: at the site of the existing A282 Dartford-Thurrock river crossing
  • Option B: connecting the A2 with the A108
  • Option C: connecting the M2 with the A13 and the M25 between junctions 29 and 30
  • a variant for option C would additionally widen the A229 between the M2 and M20

In his response to the consultation, the local MP stressed his opposition to Option C and the importance of maintaining treasured Greenbelt land; of keeping the local community together, and of ensuring that local people are not once again burdened with the fallout of an enormous infrastructure project.

He also expressed the sense of betrayal felt by local residents about the fact that they are still paying to use the current crossing despite promises that once it had been paid for there would be no tolling.

Mr Metcalfe commented: “I would like to thank all those who have made their views on the crossing known to me, particularly about Option C. Your responses were vital in communicating to the Government the strength of feeling behind this issue of great local and regional importance.”

“I will continue to campaign against Option C and for free use of the existing crossing for Thurrock residents. I hope that the Government will take heed, listen to the views of the people, and seek an alternative location for a new Thames crossing.”

Stephen Metcalfe MP talks climate change at the Science Museum

Last Wednesday Stephen Metcalfe, local MP for South Basildon and East Thurrock, joined his fellow members of the Science and Technology Committee at the Science Museum to hear from the public about their understandings of climate change.

The MPs convened in the Atmosphere Gallery of the museum which has seen more than 1.7 million visitors learn about climate change since its opening in 2010. The information they gathered will form part of the evidence for their inquiry into ‘Climate: Public understanding and policy implications.’

The meeting consisted of two sessions; the first was to explore trust and public engagement in climate change research whilst the second concerned public policy and communicating science. The MPs were joined by distinguished contributors including Dr Alex Burch, the museum’s Director of Learning and Professor Tim Palmer, Vice President of the Royal Meteorological Society.

Mr Metcalfe commented: “It was fantastic to hold this session in the Science Museum. It is extremely important that we engage with the public and there is no better place to do it.”

“Museums play a vital role in communicating climate science to the general population. The Science Museum alone has over three million visitors each year making it a trusted source of information for people’s scientific curiosities. We gathered some really useful evidence and I look forward to seeing how we can use what we have learned to make better policy.”

For further information about the work of the Science and Technology Committee and to learn more about their inquiry, please visit:

MP backs FSB’s Top Tips for online business security

South Basildon and East Thurrock MP, Stephen Metcalfe has urged businesses to think about cyber security and follow the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) top tips to stay safe online.

The Federation of Small Businesses recently published a report, Cyber security and fraud: the impact on small businesses, which shows that cyber crime costs its members around £785 million per year as they fall victim to fraud and online crime.

The report shows that 41 per cent of FSB members have been a victim of cyber crime in the last 12 months, putting the average cost at around £4,000 per business. Around three in 10 members have been a victim of fraud, typically by a customer or client (13%) or through ‘card not present’ fraud (10%). 

However, the report finds that almost 20 per cent of FSB members have not taken any steps to protect themselves from a cyber crime, even though 36 per cent of respondents said they regularly install security patches. Almost six in 10 members regularly update their virus scanning software to minimise their exposure to online crime.

In response to this the FSB has developed ten top tips for small firms to help them keep their data secure and reduce the risk of online fraud. The tips include measures on having the right security protection and practices, staff training, and having regular assessment and testing of security.

Stephen Metcalfe MP said: “Cyber crime can hit small firms hard, so it’s important they think carefully about the procedures in place to prevent it. The FSB’s top tips are an excellent tool for businesses that aren’t sure where to turn to for advice, and set out clear steps that can be taken to reduce the risk of operating online.”

Ann Swain, Chair of the FSB’s Home Affairs Policy Committee said: “Tackling cyber crime is a growing priority for businesses, and while a lot of our members are taking action we need to make sure small businesses adopt a range of measures to protect themselves. Our research shows just how common cyber crime is, and the serious effect it has on firms, so we’re keen to make sure they have access to the right advice and support.”

Stephen Metcalfe MP visits Selex ES for the Rampaging Chariots regional final

Stephen Metcalfe, local MP for South Basildon and East Thurrock, joined young engineers at the Selex ES Galileo facilities in Basildon for the regional final of the Rampaging Chariots competition.

The event was the idea of Robot Wars Typhoon Robot Team who after winning successive Robot Wars competitions wanted to widen community involvement in robotics and inspire a young people in the process.

Sponsored by SelexES and organised by the Rampaging Chariots Guild, the subsequent national competition provides participating schools with a free Rampaging Chariot kit which teams build, test, and improve themselves.

These powerful, radio controlled, featherweight sporting robots are then put through their paces with a tough set of challenges ranging from an assault course to a football tournament to determine the Robotic Games Champion.

The local MP who has worked hard to promote engineering among young people in South Basildon and East Thurrock commented: “Competitions such as this are so important in demonstrating to young people that engineering can be fun, exciting, and extremely rewarding. To see the young people produce such high quality designs and to see their enthusiasm about their creations was brilliant. I look forward to supporting the competition in the future and to see even more schools from the local area competing.”

Stephen Metcalfe MP hails welfare reform success after visit to Basildon Jobcentre

Stephen Metcalfe, local MP for South Basildon and East Thurrock, has hailed the success of welfare reform measures after a recent visit to Basildon Jobcentre.

On his visit, Mr Metcalfe met with the Manager and Social Justice Advisor who informed him of how welfare changes have led to many success stories in the local area.

The role of the Social Justice Advisor is to review people’s benefit entitlements to ensure that they are getting the fairest deal possible. In a recent review, it was found that one of Mr Metcalfe’s constituents was caught in a benefits trap.

The constituent in question was paying over the odds for sub-standard accommodation and as a result, could not afford to look for work. As a result  of welfare reforms, her case was flagged up and the Social Justice Advisor was able to help them escape the vicious cycle they were trapped in. The constituent is now paying much less for much improved accommodation and can afford to look for work – a result they are delighted with.

Mr Metcalfe commented: “The benefits cap will inevitably present challenges and it has received a good deal of bad press. But, my visit to the JobCentre highlighted to me how these reforms can change people’s lives for the better.”

“I heard fantastic examples detailing how the latest welfare reforms are helping people get back into work and improving their life opportunities. The role of Social Justice Advisor’s are vital in this process and I am delighted that there are people in the local area reaping the rewards of this new policy.”

“I will continue to remain in close contact with the Jobcentre to keep up to date with how the benefits cap is affecting the people of South Basildon and East Thurrock and I look forward to seeing more positive results in the future. I would also like to thank those working hard there to ensure that my constituents get the fairest deal possible.”

Friday, 5 July 2013

Stephen Metcalfe MP congratulates the NHS on its 65th birthday

Stephen Metcalfe, local MP for South Basildon and East Thurrock has congratulated the NHS on its 65th Birthday and thanked all those who work within it in South Basildon and East Thurrock.

On 5th July 2013, the NHS celebrates 65 years of providing healthcare to hardworking people in Britain.

Conservatives have demonstrated their continuing commitment to the NHS by increasing spending on it every year that they have been in Government.

Unlike Labour who want to cut the NHS budget, the Conservative have protected health spending and guaranteed to increase it year on year, that means here in Basildon, we will see an increase in the budget for health services up £7m from £285m in 2012-13 to £292m  in 2013-14, and in Thurrock, a rise from £171m to £175m  respectively.

Commenting, Mr Metcalfe MP said: “Even with our £12.7 billion increase in health spending, without the hardworking people employed by our NHS in Basildon and Thurrock we would not have been able to deliver faster treatment, halve hospital infection rates, and virtually eliminate mixed sex wards.”

“I would like to take this opportunity to thank all of the dedicated people who have worked and continue to work in our NHS. You make an invaluable contribution to the lives of others and your hard work does not go unnoticed or unappreciated.”

Mr Metcalfe has endeavoured throughout his time as MP to improve the standards of healthcare in South Basildon and East Thurrock. As well as meeting with patient groups, he is in regular contact with the Chief Executive of Basildon Hospital, and is working hard to look at ways to drive up the quality of care.

He added: “I will continue to do all I can to support the local health service and I hope that new Government measures such as cracking down on ‘health tourism’ will facilitate this process.”

Thursday, 4 July 2013

Stephen Metcalfe MP says No to Option C

Stephen Metcalfe, local MP for South Basildon and East Thurrock, has reiterated his opposition to Option C in the new lower Thames crossing proposals in a letter to Councillor Gerard Rice, Chair of Thurrock Council’s Planning, Transport and Regeneration Overview and Scrutiny Committee.

In the letter Mr Metcalfe stresses that Option C, which proposes to connect the M2 with the A13 and M25 between junctions 29 and 30, would be particularly detrimental to the local area, dividing historic communities, destroying greenbelt land, and changing the very nature of South Essex forever.

The local MP who has staunchly opposed the proposals at every turn commented: “Whilst I agree with the Government that something needs to be done to relieve the congestion at the Dartford Crossing, I do not think that Option C is the solution.”

“As I communicated to Thurrock Council, the economic benefits would bypass Thurrock leaving local people with a crossing that they do not want and a local area that has been irrevocably changed at the expense of invaluable greenbelt land.”

Option C is by far the most expensive of the three options currently under consideration, which also include:

·         Option A: at the site of the existing A282 Dartford -Thurrock river crossing
·         Option B: connecting the A2 with the A1089
·         A variant for option C which would additionally widen the A229 between the M2 and   M20

Mr Metcalfe urged the Government to broaden the scope of the consultation to include the option for an additional crossing between Thurrock and the City of London, and for the original option of an outer London ring road to be re-examined before any final decisions about crossings in Thurrock are made.

The local MP added: “I would once again urge my constituents to make their views known in the consultation which can be completed online here:”

“I will continue to do all I can to ensure that the opposition to Option C is heard and I hope that we can eventually reach a solution that alleviates the current congestion problems without disadvantaging local people.”

Stephen Metcalfe MP shows support for the Disability Inclusion Society

Stephen Metcalfe, local MP for South Basildon and East Thurrock, showed his support for the Disability Inclusion Society (DIS) last week when he visited one of their projects at Ashview House.

DIS is a Community Interest Company based in Essex which actively works towards the true inclusion of people with Disabilities within society. The charity uses art as a vehicle for achieving positive change, giving disabled people the opportunity to deliver artistic projects in the local community.

Ashview House is a residential care home for severely disabled individuals where DIS is working hard. The project which initially focused on internal decoration has seen bland walls transformed into bright murals, and now resident’s personal rooms are being painted and tailored to their personal requests.

Mr Metcalfe, who is a patron of the charity, commented: “DIS are doing fantastic work within the local community. They empower disabled people, giving them the opportunity to gain invaluable work experience whilst simultaneously using their artistic skills to improve the lives of others.”

DIS’s work is made possible by disabled people using their Personal Independence Payments to participate in DIS’s empowering program. 

The local MP added: “The confidence and sense of self worth gained through this scheme is invaluable. It is an incredibly innovative and wise use of personal independence payments, equipping disabled people with the skills and tools they need to thrive in a workplace. I would like to thank all those who work so hard to make the program happen and I look forward to supporting DIS in the years to come.”

The charity are currently planning their future activities which will include a gardening project for Basildon Hospital, helping elderly people with small jobs in their homes, and working with a special needs school to create some art work. For further information, please visit:

Tuesday, 2 July 2013

Stephen Metcalfe MP urges constituents to make views known on crossing plans

Stephen Metcalfe, local MP for South Basildon and East Thurrock, is urging constituents to take part in a Government consultation on plans to build a lower Thames crossing.

The plans were put forward by Roads Minister Stephen Hammond with the aim to reduce congestion and boost growth. The Government have put forward 3 options and the consultation is the first step in deciding on the location of a new crossing.

The options are:
  • Option A: at the site of the existing A282 Dartford-Thurrock river crossing
  • Option B: connecting the A2 with the A1089
  • Option C: connecting the M2 with the A13 and the M25 between junctions 29 and 30
  • a variant for option C would additionally widen the A229 between the M2 and M20

The local MP has expressed grave concerns over Option C which would cut through green belt land in Thurrock and have a significant environmental impact.

He commented: “I am pleased that the Government wants to tackle congestion in the area but Option C is certainly not the right way to do it. I want the Government to look at wider options, not just those in Thurrock and to demonstrate that any new crossing will definitely alleviate congestion at the Dartford Crossing.”

“The views of local people must be heard and I would encourage my constituents to attend the upcoming consultation meetings and to visit the website and have their say.”

Mr Metcalfe added: “Under the plans, free flow tolling will increase capacity by 20% which, whilst a welcome addition, does not go far enough. We have overcrowded road networks in Thurrock with local residents paying too much to use the crossing. Not only will I be opposing option C but I will keep pushing for the existing crossing to be free for Thurrock Residents as it is them who suffer the most.”

The consultation website address is:
Follow the link to have your say.

Stephen Metcalfe MP opens the Horndon-on-the-Hill Feast and Fayre

On Saturday Stephen Metcalfe, local MP for South Basildon and East Thurrock, officially opened the annual Horndon-on-the-Hill Feast and Fayre. Having attended the opening church service, Mr Metcalfe cut the ribbon before enjoying the festivities with local people.

The traditional event dates back to the 13th Century when the village was granted a Royal Charter to hold a feast and celebration on the last weekend in June. Revived in 1974, the Feast and Fayre sees the village transformed and the high road lined with a diverse range of stalls and entertainment.

This year under the theme ‘A celebration of the River Thames in Essex throughout the ages’  the entertainment included a poetry competition, a performance by the Thurrock Male Voice Choir, and a host of other live music, stalls, and street entertainers. The day’s events were topped off with the Horndon 10km run. 

Addressing the crowd, Mr Metcalfe praised the organisers of the historic fayre and encouraged attendees to honour the hard work of previous organisers by keeping the fantastic tradition going for generations to come.

He later commented: “The Feast and Fayre is a brilliant celebration of the local area both now and through the ages. It demonstrates that community spirit is very much alive and well and I would once again like to thank all those involved in organising this celebration.”

“The atmosphere was fantastic and I hope that those who attended enjoyed the occasion as much as I did. I look forward to seeing this tradition continue for many years to come so that future generations can celebrate the heritage of Horndon-on-the-Hill.”

Stephen Metcalfe MP pitches in with the Love Where You Live litter pick

Stephen Metcalfe, local MP for South Basildon and East Thurrock, recently joined volunteers in Basildon Town Centre  to help them collect litter for Keep Britain Tidy’s ‘Love Where You Live’ campaign.

The campaign is running the length and breadth of the country throughout June and aims to clean up local public areas, tackle problems such as dog mess, and bring the community together behind a common cause.

Around 20 Volunteers, including the local MP, joined forces for the litter pick in the town centre which was sponsored by McDonalds.

Mr Metcalfe commented: “Keep Britain Tidy is a fantastic charity making a real difference to communities throughout the UK. They understand that cleaner streets and community spaces make such a difference to the feel of a local area, and are the backbone of strong communities. Basildon is certainly not an exception to this.”

“Basildon is a fantastic place and I was delighted to see local people coming together and taking a real pride in where they live. I hope that all local residents will get behind the campaign and help to keep Basildon tidy not just in June, but on an ongoing basis.”

To see how you can get involved, or to organise a cleanup in your local park, community area, or other green space, have a look at the Love Where You Live website:

Mr Metcalfe added: “I would like to thank all of the volunteers who took part in the clean up and McDonalds for partnering the event. I hope it will be the first of many more to come!”

Stephen Metcalfe MP inspects parade at local Armed Forces Day celebration

On 29th June, Stephen Metcalfe, local MP for South Basildon and East Thurrock, joined the residents of Basildon in a celebration of the Armed Forces. The local MP inspected the cadet’s parade along with Mayor Mo Larkin, Council Leader Tony Ball and Rector of St Martin’s, Reverend Esther McCafferty, before talking to the young people about their experiences in the Armed Forces community.

The event in Basildon was one of hundreds being held across the country, championing the work of serving troops, veterans, and cadets. The highlights of the day’s events were the raising of the Armed Forces flag and a parade of uniformed cadets from the Navy, Air Force and Army. Led by the Air Cadets band, the young people marched from Toys R Us to St Martin’s Square.

Armed Forces Day is a national campaign designed to raise public awareness of the contribution made to our country by those who serve and have served in Her Majesty’s Armed Forces, whilst also giving the nation an opportunity to demonstrate their support for the men and women who make up the Armed Forces community.

Mr Metcalfe, who has long been a supporter of the armed forces, commented: “It was a privilege to join local people in celebrating the invaluable work of the Armed Forces and to inspect the parade of cadets.”

“All involved did themselves and their units proud. The atmosphere was fantastic and I think it was a tremendous way to show our support for the armed forces and to celebrate the invaluable contribution they have made and are making to this country.”

The signing of the Basildon Armed Forces Community Covenant has created a good partnership between the local civilian community and armed forces in Basildon. The parade is a continuation of events being held in the local area to show support for the Armed Forces Community which recently included an Armed Forces Summit.

To find out more about Armed Forces Day and supporting the Armed Forces community, visit:

Monday, 1 July 2013

Stephen Metcalfe MP welcomes potential £65 energy bill saving for homes in South Basildon and East Thurrock

Stephen Metcalfe MP has welcomed the news that 586 households in South Basildon and East Thurrock are already benefiting from increased control over energy bills through British Gas smart meters, with average annual savings of £65 per household. This brings the total estimated savings in the area to £38,090.

Smart meters mean for the first time, households can see how much gas and electricity they are using, as they use it, and how much that costs in pounds and pence. By gaining insight into what they are spending and where, consumers can take control over their energy use and consequently their bills. Smart meters also send meter readings to suppliers automatically, seeing an end to estimated bills.

All energy companies are required to deliver smart meters to every home and business in the country by 2020, with British Gas already installing one million smart meters - around 75% of the total currently installed in Britain today.

Stephen Metcalfe MP commented: “At a time when many people are struggling to make ends meet, this is good news for the families in South Basildon and East Thurrock. Energy bills are a big worry for some households and anything that can provide greater transparency and help people take control of their costs and reduce waste is welcome.”

“Every home in the area will have a smart meter by 2020 and it’s good to see British Gas helping my constituents get the benefits of smart meter’s today.”

Stuart Rolland, Managing Director of Smart Metering at British Gas said: “British Gas is working hard to make sure people are in control of their energy bills, that’s one of the reasons we chose to get smart meters to our customers earlier than everyone else. 586 of our customers in South Basildon and East Thurrock are already seeing the benefit of smart and we look forward to the rest joining them.”

British Gas customers will receive a new smart meter when the life of their standard meter expires, but customers are also welcome to register their interest to see if they can get one sooner. Visit to find out more.

Stephen Metcalfe MP launches new Wincanton shredding vehicle

Recently Stephen Metcalfe, local MP for South for South Basildon and East Thurrock, visited Wincanton Records Management (WRM) to officially declare their new shredding vehicle ready for business.

The Rainham-based document management specialists held a special ceremony to officially launch the new truck which will service businesses across Essex and the South East, attending clients’ business premises to shred confidential documents. The new vehicle has been customised by an in-house engineer, which ensures that the disposal of important documents is safe and secure.

Stephen Metcalfe MP, commented: “I was pleased to be invited to visit WRM and to see the work they do. The new vehicles are not only a welcome investment in both their business and the environment; they also make it easier and more efficient for clients to see their documents shredded on site, thus ensuring even greater data protection.”

“I wish WRM every success for the future and hope that they continue to invest, grow and provide local employment opportunities here in South Essex.”

Jon Fowler, Managing Director of Wincanton Records Management, UK and Ireland said: “We were delighted to welcome Stephen Metcalfe MP to officially launch our new shredding vehicle. Stephen Metcalfe is a champion of business and as we work with companies to ease the burden of their document management and storage requirements, we were pleased he could join us.”

“More legislation such as The Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act of 2003, which aims to reduce identity theft, means that businesses are under increased pressure to ensure all confidential information is disposed of in a safe and secure manner – with WRM, they can be assured of this at all times.”

With the Information Commissioner’s Office having the ability to impose fines of up to £500,000 for contravening Data Protection legislation, retaining security and confidentiality of business information has never been more important.

For more information on WRM, please visit or call 0870 90 88 000. For more information on Wincanton plc, please visit

Stephen Metcalfe MP: Moving Britain from rescue to recovery

Stephen Metcalfe, local MP for South Basildon and Thurrock, has welcomed the Spending review for 2015/16 delivered by the Chancellor today, and has called on Labour to say which if any of the measures announced they would reverse.

The Chancellor announced further reductions to Whitehall spending and reforms of civil service pay. The budgets for the NHS, Education, and International Development have however been ring-fenced.

Stephen, who has previously called on the Government to reduce Whitehall waste, also particularly welcomed the announcement that £1.1bn will be made available for capital investment in the Science Budget.

When the Government came into power it had to address one of the biggest economic crises since the Second World War. Labour left the country with a note saying ‘there is no money left’ and have since failed to either apologise for their actions, or give any credible fiscal plan of their own.

Their  irresponsible and reckless spending has left the current Government with some tough decisions to make – decisions that are ensuring that Britain moves forward.
The Government will continue to cut the deficit by prioritising investment in infrastructure to equip Britain to compete in the global race, and by ensuring fairness for people who work hard and want to get on by further reforming welfare and capping welfare spending.

Mr Metcalfe commented: “Britain is moving from rescue to recovery, and today’s Spending Round sets out the latest action to secure that recovery.”

“Conservatives will continue to cut the deficit and prioritise spending on things like roads and rail to deliver a stronger economy and to equip Britain to win in the global race.”

“By protecting spending on schools and health, capping welfare and cutting waste in Whitehall, this spending review delivers for the hardworking people of South Basildon and East Thurrock.”