Thursday, 27 November 2014

Stephen Metcalfe MP celebrates recognition of local community groups in Lloyds Bank Community Fund 

Local MP Stephen Metcalfe has hailed the success of the 2014 Lloyds Bank Community Fund which has this year recognised and awarded a number of good causes in South Basildon & East Thurrock with vital extra funding. 

The Lloyds Bank Community Fund is designed to help local communities up and down the country by awarding between £500 and £3000 to good causes. 

Voting for the 2014 campaign has now ended, and each local good cause across the country has now discovered the award they will receive following nearly 1.5 million votes being cast across the country. 

The community groups from South Basildon and East Thurrock to receive an award are: 

• RCCG Majesty Connections £500 
• East Thurrock Community Association (E.T.C.A.) £2000 
• Karis May Darling Foundation £3000 
• Orsett Church of England Primary School £500 

Stephen Metcalfe commented: “I am so pleased to hear the great news that these wonderful groups in our local community have been recognised for the incredible work that they do. I am very aware of the important role they play in the lives of Basildon and Thurrock residents and it is wonderful to see them rewarded for their hard work.” 

“The Lloyds Bank Community Fund is a great opportunity for community groups and I would like to commend them for the work they do in supporting these vital groups and organisations. Their initiative is evidence of the positive impact that businesses can have on the public”. 

Graham Lindsay, Director, Responsible Business and Community Affairs, Lloyds Banking Group said “It has been fantastic to see so many members of the public nominating and voting for good causes in the 2014 Lloyds Bank Community Fund. Looking at all the wonderful causes that the Community Fund awards will go towards is truly heartening to see. Helping our communities thrive in this way is crucial to us delivering our ambition to help Britain prosper.” 

Information, including summaries, on all community groups in your area can be found below and at
Stephen Metcalfe MP secures confirmation that Felmores Bail Hostel can be moved if alternative location can be found 

Stephen Metcalfe, Local Member of Parliament for South Basildon & East Thurrock has today met with the Minister for Prisons, Andrew Selous MP to discuss his ongoing concerns around the Felmores Bail Hostel, also known as an Approved Premises (APs).

In an act of tri-partisan cooperation, Stephen also invited local council representatives from both Labour and UKIP to ensure that all involved work together to address residents’ concerns. However it was very disappointing that UKIP choose not to attend leaving some residents unrepresented at the meeting.

At the meeting the Minister reiterated the commitment that Stephen received from the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) 3 years ago, namely that if an alternative site with relevant planning permission could be found then the Ministry would move the Bail Hostel.

The Minister explained the value of Approved Premises (APs), pointing out that it was better to know where serious criminals were when they were released on license from prison, rather than just releasing them in to the community. While at the premises residents can be assessed and are subject to curfews and restricted in where they can go and who they can meet - these controls would be more difficult without APs.

However, he did accept that placing APs in the right location was always a challenge.

The Minister also praised the work that Mr Metcalfe has done on this issue over the years, saying: “Stephen has been completely consistent on this issue and has worked tirelessly on behalf of his constituents, ensuring that the MoJ meet its commitment to move the premises if a suitable alternative with relevant planning permission can be found.”

He went on to encourage all present to look for alternative locations and work together on behalf of those they represent.

Stephen said: “It was a productive meeting and I am grateful to the Minister for confirming the department’s earlier commitment. I now hope that those on the Local Council will work together to identify a suitable site, following which I will make sure the MoJ keeps its promises.”
Stephen Metcalfe MP welcomes positive figures on new businesses 

Local MP Stephen Metcalfe has today welcomed new figures which show that the number of private sector businesses in the East of England has increased by around 79,600 over the last four years.

At the start of 2014, for the first time ever there were over 5 million private sector businesses across the UK. This is a record annual increase of 333,000 businesses, or 7 per cent, since the start of 2013.

There are now over three quarters of a million more private sector businesses than there were in 2010.

Stephen Metcalfe commented: “These figures are further proof that the Conservative long-term economic plan is working for people across Basildon and Thurrock. Overall, there are now 760,000 more private sector businesses in the UK than there were in 2010. This has been an incredible achievement!”

“This Government is helping new businesses to create jobs for hardworking taxpayers, which is providing them with the peace of mind that comes from a steady job and the prospect of a brighter future.”

“I am committed to ensuring that the progress we have made so far is safeguarded for the residents of South Basildon and East Thurrock.”

Wednesday, 26 November 2014

Stephen Metcalfe MP: speaks out against Labour on the NHS

Stephen Metcalfe, Local Member of Parliament for South Basildon & East Thurrock has today accused Labour of wilfully ‘scaremongering’ and ‘misleading’ the public on the NHS. Last Friday, during a debate Stephen attended, Labour claimed success in combatting supposed NHS ‘privatisation’ by voting through a Private Member’s Bill in the Commons. This is despite the fact that Government measures are designed to simply remove layers of bureaucracy, reform existing practices and will help the NHS to save £5.5 billion in this Parliament alone. 

Stephen Metcalfe commented: “I am absolutely committed to the founding principles of the NHS - that care is free at the point of use based on need, not on the ability to pay. The Health and Social Care Act does not change this. It will not privatise the NHS. This Labour Bill therefore is seeking to prevent something that is simply not happening.”

“In truth, only 6 pence in every pound spent by the NHS is spent with private sector providers. And the hypocrisy is, under Labour, private sector provision grew at TWICE the rate than under this Government.” 

Labour’s Andy Burnham remains the only Secretary of State in history to have privatised services run by an ENTIRE hospital. And Labour entered the last election with a manifesto commitment promising to increase private provision of healthcare. 

Stephen Metcalfe continued: “This whole episode has shown that Labour are being politically selective over the bandwagons they choose to jump on.” 

“The Conservatives understand that to support our incredible NHS, we need a growing and thriving economy. The economic disaster that Labour left us with was the biggest threat our NHS has ever seen. By implementing vital reforms and jumpstarting Britain’s economic recovery, the Conservatives have actually safeguarded the future of the NHS. The efficiency savings which have been made have been ploughed back in to the NHS to employ 8,000 more doctors and 5,600 more nurses than in 2010.” 

“My constituents are not that easily fooled and will not be hoodwinked by Labour posturing on this important issue. The NHS is something we should all take pride in and it’s time for Labour to stop playing politics with it."

Monday, 24 November 2014

Stephen Metcalfe MP ramps up the pressure over King Street Car Park

Local MP Stephen Metcalfe has ramped up his opposition to the  introduction of parking charges in the former Council-owned King Street car park in Stanford le Hope. 

King Street car park was sold by the Council to a developer on the understanding that free parking would be maintained. However, recently signs have gone up at the site stating that free parking is only applicable for the first 30 minutes of stay.

Stephen met with local Conservative councillor Shane Hebb this weekend to discuss the issue.  Both Stephen and Shane are jointly campaigning for the developer to stick to the spirit of the original agreement. They have both expressed concerns over the potential impact these charges will have on residents, shops and the local community.

Stephen Metcalfe commented: “This is a real blow for our local businesses and shop keepers, who have been doing everything they can to keep our local high streets alive. It is so important that we do everything we can to support them!”

Stephen added: “Whatever the legality of the agreement might be, it is obvious to me that the Car Park was supposed to be free both before and after any future development.”

“I therefore encourage the Council to actively and rapidly engage with all those concerned to find a solution to this apparently self-inflicted problem, especially as the busy Christmas period draws near.”
Stephen Metcalfe MP congratulates Woolmarket Ladies on another successful Coffee Morning

Last Saturday, Local MP Stephen Metcalfe attended the Woolmarket Ladies Autumn Coffee Morning and congratulated them on their continued success. The Woolmarket Ladies group have played a major role in Horndon’s local community over many years, supporting charities and arranging social events and speakers.

Stephen Metcalfe commented: “I was so pleased to be able to attend the Autumn Coffee Morning this weekend. It was a delight to meet some of the faces behind such a wonderful local organisation and I am so pleased to see they are still going strong.”

“Recently, the Woolmarket Ladies have been doing some really good work around a number of important issues and I am pleased to show my support for them.”

Friday, 21 November 2014

Stephen Metcalfe MP pledges his continued support to NCS to benefit local young people      

Local MP Stephen Metcalfe has today in the House of Commons continued to champion support for the National Citizen Service (NCS). The NCS offers young people the chance to make a positive impact in their local communities while improving their skills during spring, summer and autumn programmes through outdoor activities, a community based residential and voluntary work.

Stephen rose on the floor of the House of Commons to ask Francis Maude, the Minister for the Cabinet Office, how the Department intends to widen participation in and increase the availability of the popular Service across the rest of the UK following its success in the South East of the country.

Stephen welcomed the Minister’s intention to widen the NCS across Wales and Northern Ireland and that discussions are underway to expand the scheme to Scotland as well.

The Minister also praised Stephen’s efforts in support of the programme which has proven very popular locally. He believes that it is a valuable scheme, providing not only opportunities for 16 and 17 year olds to develop their skills, undertake challenges and interact with new groups of people, but also allows for local communities to benefit from the work undertaken. Groups have been involved in care home clean ups, organising music gigs to raise money for hospices and ‘sleep-outs’ to help draw attention to homelessness. Participants will see their CVs, personal statements and UCAS applications enhanced by the NCS.

Any 16-17 year olds looking to find out more about the NCS should visit, call 0845 460 7410, email or find "NCS East" on Facebook and Twitter.

Thursday, 20 November 2014

Stephen Metcalfe MP: echoes Prime Minister’s G20 warnings

Stephen Metcalfe, local Member of Parliament for South Basildon & East Thurrock has shown support for the Prime Minister’s latest comments on the state of the global economy and the current British economic recovery. Attending the G20 meetings this week with other world leaders in Australia, David Cameron emphasised the warning signs in the world economy, but also the record levels of employment and economic growth being seen at home in the UK.

The Prime Minister commented: “As I met with world leaders at the G20 Summit, the problems were plain to see. The Eurozone is on the brink of recession. Emerging market economies are slowing down. And the epidemic of Ebola, conflict in the Middle East and Russia's illegal actions in Ukraine are adding a dangerous backdrop of instability and uncertainty.”

“The British economy by contrast is growing, with record numbers of new businesses and employment up 1.75 million in four years - more than in the rest of the EU put together.”

“But the problems in the global economy pose a real risk to our recovery - and we must protect ourselves.”

“When we faced similar problems before, too many politicians offered easy answers, thinking we could spend, borrow and tax our way to prosperity. They were wrong then - and they are wrong now.”

Stephen Metcalfe has today said: “While I am pleased the UK economy is growing, our recover is by no means certain. The global economy, especially the Eurozone is worryingly unpredictable at the moment, it is therefore imperative for the people of Basildon and Thurrock and the entire country, that the Conservatives be permitted to continue the work they have already done to secure our long term economic plan and build a better future for us all.”
Stephen Metcalfe MP: Conservatives could take 4860 hardworking taxpayers in South Basildon and East Thurrock out of income tax

Local MP Stephen Metcalfe has welcomed new figures showing that Conservative plans for further cuts to income tax would take an estimated 4860 low-earners out of paying income tax altogether in South Basildon & East Thurrock, making hardworking taxpayers more financially secure.

A future Conservative Government has committed to tax cuts for 30 million people by raising the personal allowance to £12,500 and raising the threshold at which people pay the 40p rate of tax to £50,000 by 2020. The personal allowance increase would also take one million low-earners out of paying income tax.

This builds on action the Conservatives have already taken in Government to cut income tax. The personal allowance has already risen to £10,000 since 2010, meaning the typical taxpayer is paying £705 less in income tax, and over three million have been taken out of income tax altogether. This will rise again to £10,500 from next April.

Stephen Metcalfe commented: “As Conservatives we believe strongly that the best way to make families more secure is to let people keep more of what they’ve worked hard to earn, and that it’s morally wrong for politicians to go around spending hardworking taxpayer’s money like it grows on trees.

That’s why in Government we’ve been cutting income tax at the same time as reducing the deficit. This is great news for families across Basildon and Thurrock, bringing further financial security.

The Conservative’s plans would take a million people out of paying income tax, and mean no one working 30 hours a week on the minimum wage would pay any income tax.”
Stephen Metcalfe MP welcomes flexible street lighting over Christmas period

Stephen Metcalfe, local Member of Parliament for South Basildon & East Thurrock has today welcomed Essex County Council decision to keep all street lights switched on in the early hours of Christmas Day and New Year’s Day to enable the public to enjoy festive events including Midnight Mass and New Year’s Eve parties.

Essex County Council’s controversial part night lighting (PNL) programme is designed to both save money and reduce energy consumption and has resulted in Council-owned street lights that don’t meet the exception criteria have being turned off between midnight and 5am.

Stephen Metcalfe commented: “I am pleased that the County Council have listened to my and the public’s calls for the street lights to be left on  during the festive season and thank them for the flexibility they have shown.”

Stephen continued: “I still have concerns about PNL and I would be interested to hear of people’s experiences on this matter now that it has been in place for some months as the safety and wellbeing of local residents must always be paramount. I want to do everything I can to accurately represent the views of my residents to the County Council.”

“I look forward to working with Essex County Council in seeking reassurances that the needs of the local community will always be kept in mind and would encourage ECC to work with Basildon Borough Council to explore all options for alternative to PNL.”

Wednesday, 19 November 2014

Stephen Metcalfe MP: supporting campaign for Essex Air Ambulance new landing site

Stephen Metcalfe, local Member of Parliament for South Basildon & East Thurrock has joined with  Essex and Herts Air Ambulance to campaign for a new landing site near Basildon Hospital. Essex Air Ambulance together with Stephen Metcalfe are appealing to the local authorities to help find a replacement landing site so that patients in need of life saving treatment can see be brought to the Hospital and the regions Cardio Thoracic Unit.

Stephen Metcalfe commented: “It would be a tragedy if this vital and life-saving aircraft loses its ability to continue to service our community. It is vitally important that we support this fight to ensure that the life-saving work of the Air Ambulance is safeguarded for the future.”

“I am very pleased to be lending my support to Essex Air Ambulance, and I call on all members of the community to rally around this crucial campaign and to help secure a suitable replacement site.”

The Essex Air Ambulance HEMS Team consisting of a highly experienced Pilot, Pre-hospital Care Doctor and Critical Care Paramedic are attending an increasing number of cardiac arrest patients due to the advanced equipment they carry on board such as an automatic chest compression device and QCPR kits enabling them to provide advanced level of cardiac care at the scene.

One of the unique advantages of having a Doctor on board is the important decision to triage patients to the most appropriate hospital if they require specialist care. This saves vital minutes between onset of illness to the patient receiving specialist medical care in hospital. Therefore it is paramount that in the case of cardiac arrests and other heart problems; there is a dedicated landing site allowing these patients the best chance of survival.

Monday, 17 November 2014

Stephen Metcalfe MP takes part in successful Parliament Week for schools

Stephen Metcalfe, local Member of Parliament for South Basildon and East Thurrock has this week highlighted the huge success of Parliament week, both locally and nationally. Parliament Week is a nationwide programme of events and activities that connect people across the UK with Parliament and democracy.

This year Stephen Metcalfe chose to focus on engaging with schools and young people and visited and spoke at a number of local schools. At Woodlands school, he took part in a question and answers session with year 10 and 11 students from the Citizenship Group; at Hassenbrook School in Stanford-le-Hope he spoke to the Student Voice Group about their concerns around anti-social behaviour; while at Great Berry Primary School he talked about what an MP does with the year 6 students.  Finally, Stephen finished off the week with a visit to Pitsea Junior School where he took part in a Great War project event.

Stephen Metcalfe commented: “Parliament week is vitally important for ensuring that our young people are not left behind by our democratic and parliamentary processes. It was such an uplifting experience taking part in the Q&A sessions with the school pupils; the questions were intelligent and thoughtful and the children I met are a real credit to our local community.
“It was also a wonderful privilege to be invited to take part in the Remembrance services at Pitsea Junior School. The school has done a wonderful job at bringing the message of Remembrance to the pupils and teaching them about life in the trenches. To see them making individual poppies for each of the fallen soldiers from the Basildon Parish was incredibly moving.”

“I am a huge supporter of Parliament Week and it has truly become one of my favourite occasions on my Parliamentary calendar.”

“Parliament week is vitally important for ensuring that our young people are not left out of our democratic process.”
Stephen Metcalfe MP: tax cut supporting jobs and backing businesses in Basildon and Thurrock

Local MP Stephen Metcalfe has welcomed new figures released today showing that 84,000 businesses in the East of England are benefitting from the Government’s Employment Allowance since its introduction in April, making it easier for businesses to hire staff and create jobs.

The Employment Allowance is a reduction in National Insurance Contributions that an employer pays for its employees. The allowance is worth up to £2,000 off the National Insurance bill of every employer and is open to businesses, charities and community amateur sports clubs.

The allowance means a business could now hire someone on £22,400 a year, or four people working full-time on the minimum wage, and not have to pay any employer National Insurance Contributions. This is making it easier for local businesses to grow and create more jobs in Basildon and Thurrock.

Within the first six months of its launch, over 850,000 employers across the country have benefitted from the Employment Allowance.

Stephen Metcalfe commented: “This tax cut is a key part of our long-term economic plan to back business and secure a better future for Britain. Already, so many businesses in the region are benefitting from the cut, making it easier for them to hire staff and create jobs.

Our long-term economic plan is helping to create jobs by making it easier for businesses to take on new employees. Since the last election, businesses in the UK have created over 2 million jobs.

“We now need to see our long-term economic plan through to deliver economic security and peace of mind for hardworking people in Basildon and Thurrock.”
Stephen Metcalfe MP hails huge success of remembrance project in Parliament

This week, Local MP Stephen Metcalfe invited and organised a Parliamentary reception for some of the key members behind the successful “Forget Never, Oublier Jamais, Vergessen Niemals” Project.

Jonathon and Jade at the Festival of Remembrance
Launched by Stephen Metcalfe earlier this year, the Forget Never project is a World War 1 Commemorative project linking the twinning towns of Basildon, Meaux and Heiligenhaus in France and Germany. News of the project spread rapidly and eventually had involvement from a variety of local community members, including schools, businesses, historians, artists, authors and the Basildon Heritage Group.

The unique nature of this project, as recognised by the Lottery Heritage Fund who have awarded the project over £50,000, is that it brings together the three twinning towns to create a tri-lingual commemoration of the centenary. The project will continue to explore what life was like in the three townships; attitudes from the three points of view and, most importantly, allow us to remember the people – those who died, those who suffered incredible injuries and of course those who survived and kept the communities running during this important period in our history.

The success of the Forget Never project was recognised this month, when it was invited to be part of the Festival of Remembrance at the Royal Albert Hall last Saturday, on the eve of Remembrance Sunday. Jonathon Horst 18 from Velbert, Germany and Jade Petchey 19 from Southend were honoured to be chosen and represented the project delivering the Anglo/German tribute in the finale at the festival.

Jonathon and Jade presented the President, Lieutenant General Sir John Kiszely KCB MC, of the Royal British Legion with a poppy posy which was laid on top of the regimental drums in the centre of the auditorium. The two youths then addressed the audience reading a pray in both English and German.

Stephen Metcalfe commented: “This project really has gone from strength to strength. From its humble local beginnings, it has now been recognised at a national level, and I feel truly privileged to have been a part of it.”

“The team behind it have been truly incredible, and I know they all swelled with pride on Saturday evening. I would like to thank them for helping make our local community a key part of the national commemoration festival.”

Owing to the success of the project, Stephen Metcalfe was keen to organise a reception for some of the key members of ‘Forget Never’ in Parliament earlier this week. Project members were treated to a tour of the Palace of Westminster, and Stephen personally thanked them all for bringing his original idea to life. 

Sunday, 16 November 2014

Stephen Metcalfe MP: on the importance of remembrance

Local MP Stephen Metcalfe has joined the local community in country-wide remembrance events to mark this year’s special Remembrance Sunday on the centenary of the start of the First World War.
Stephen Metcalfe commented: “The centenary of the First World War, makes it particularly poignant to be taking part in this year’s Remembrance Sunday events. 

We should never forget the tragedy of war, and the courage of those who made the ultimate sacrifice, so that today we all may live in peace.

Remembrance Sunday also serves as a reminder to the huge debt of gratitude we owe our incredible armed forces. In the here and now, our service personnel continue to put their lives on the line for all of our security; and I know that people across Basildon and Thurrock will join me in keeping them in our thoughts.”

Stephen Metcalfe has been particularly involved in 2014’s remembrance events. Earlier this year, he has helped spearhead the bringing of the ‘Forget Never’ project to the local community, a successful World War 1 commemorative project, involving people from Basildon, and its twin towns in France and Germany of Meaux and Heiligenhaus.

Stephen Metcalfe could also be spotted this week helping to sell Poppys for the Royal British Legion Poppy appeal in at Pitsea, Nevendon branch of Sainsbury's with Chairman of Pitsea Royal British Legion Ted Jobson and his wife June.

Stephen Metcalfe commented: “It was wonderful to support Ted and his Wife June with last week’s Poppy appeal. We had such a great response from the local residents in the community and I see this year in and year out.

It was a real privilege to lay a wreath this Sunday in Basildon. I know that Basildon and Thurrock residents will proudly wear their Poppies this week as the commemoration continues.”

Thursday, 13 November 2014

Stephen Metcalfe MP: demanding a fair price for life-extending breast cancer drugs

Local MP Stephen Metcalfe has joined charity Breakthrough Breast Cancer in its call for fairer access to life-extending breast cancer drugs.

Concerns were raised at the charity’s annual Parliamentary Reception on the routine availability of, and inflated prices being set for, vital treatments that can offer women living with incurable breast cancer extra time with their loved ones, free from many of the side effects associated with traditional cancer therapies.

Stephen Metcalfe has committed to working with Breakthrough to ensure that women across Basildon and Thurrock have access to the breast cancer drugs they need, raising this issue in parliament and prioritising the clear calls to action laid out as part of the first phase of the Demand a Fair Price campaign.

A number of innovative new breast cancer drugs have been rejected for routine use on the NHS and are only available through the Cancer Drugs Fund, which the government introduced as a temporary measure. The Cancer Drugs Fund is only available to patients in England until 2016 and Breakthrough Breast Cancer for long-term reform of the drug pr4icing system, to give patients across the UK the certainty that they will be able to access the drugs they need at prices the NHS can afford.

Stephen Metcalfe commented: “It is vitally important that we back Breakthrough Breast Cancer in their commitment to solving the problems that currently exist around access to drugs in the UK.

This will come from negotiations and ongoing discussion with pharmaceutical companies, regulators and charities to create a new system which will ensure all cancer patients can access the drugs they need at a fair price to the NHS.

We’ve come a long way in developing new and better drugs for breast cancer but to keep moving towards a future where women can live longer feeling well, spend less time in hospital with debilitating side effects and more time with their families, and keep working if they are able to, we need to find a way to guarantee access to the drugs that can make this possible.”
Stephen Metcalfe MP: welcomes personal Annual Tax Summaries

Local MP Stephen Metcalfe has welcomed the announcement that from yesterday over 24 million hardworking taxpayers will start to receive a new, personal Annual Tax Summary. This will set out how much direct tax they pay and how that money is being spent by the Government.

This will mean many hardworking taxpayers in South Basildon and East Thurrock will see exactly how their taxes are being used. Stephen Metcalfe backs Conservative plans to cut inefficient and ineffective spending so we can reduce the deficit and cut income tax further.

24 million taxpayers (out of 29.9 million) across the country will receive a personal Annual Tax Summary. Tax Summaries are going to everyone who has updated their tax position in the last two years. Someone won’t get a summary if they haven’t paid income tax in the last year, or if HMRC is waiting for information – such as a change of address, or PAYE info from their employer.

As part of the Conservatives’ long-term economic plan, income tax has already been cut for 26 million people, with the typical taxpayer’s income tax bill cut by £705 since 2010. In South Basildon an estimated 42,150 people have had their income tax cut, with approximately 4,620 low earners taken out of paying income tax altogether – giving them greater financial security.

The Conservatives have committed to go further after the next election and cut taxes for 30 million people by raising the personal allowance to £12,500, and lifting the threshold at which people pay the higher rate of tax to £50,000.

Stephen Metcalfe commented: ““As Conservatives we believe taxpayers deserve to know how the Government spends the money they have earned and paid in taxes.

These new personal tax summaries will deliver exactly that - letting many taxpayers across Basildon and Thurrock find out how much direct tax they’re paying and what it’s being spent on.

I agree with our Chancellor George Osborne, that the Conservatives have truly delivered a ‘revolution in transparency’.

Tuesday, 11 November 2014

Stephen Metcalfe MP: Celebrates Visteon Pensioners success in Parliament

Stephen Metcalfe, local Member of Parliament for South Basildon & East Thurrock, recently joined members of the Visteon Pensioners Action Group (VPAG) for a formal celebration following their settlement with Ford over their pension rights.

After 5 long years and a sustained campaign by the pensioners, Ford UK finally faced up to their obligations and did the right thing and compensated their former employees for their pension loses.

Stephen Metcalfe, who led the campaign in Parliament said: “My colleagues and I never dared to dream that the day would come when we would be able to celebrate having won our long battle Ford,  but it has and I am truly delighted!”

Mr Metcalfe who spearhead the long campaign, argued Ford had a moral responsibilities to their former employees who have suffered pension losses of up to 50% when Visteon UK collapsed in 2009.

Stephen Metcalfe commented: “It was wonderful to join the Visteon Pensioners, and other MPs, for the celebration and showed how by working together, anything is possible. MPs from across the country and across the House came together to fight for their constituents. They put party politics aside and showed, I hope Parliament at its best.”

Monday, 10 November 2014

Stephen Metcalfe MP invites Corringham Residents and Traders Association to Parliament

Stephen Metcalfe, local Member of Parliament for South Basildon & East Thurrock recently welcomed members of the Corringham Residents and Traders Association to Parliament in recognition of the important role they play within the local community.

During their visit, Association Members were treated to a personal tour of the Westminster Palace by Mr Metcalfe and thank for the work they have done to revitalise Corringham Town Centre.

Stephen Metcalfe later commented: “It was a delight to show the Association Members around the Houses of Parliament and it way my way of thanking them for the work they do. Organising such events as Easter Egg Hunts and fun days are a great way of encouraging local people back into our small shopping centres and ensuring the vitality of our small shops.”

“I hope that they will continue to go from strength to strength and wish them well for the future. I will certainly do what I can to support them and am looking forward to forthcoming events.”
Stephen Metcalfe MP: welcomes positive figures on workless households in Basildon and Thurrock

Local MP Stephen Metcalfe has today welcomed the latest Office of National Statistics figures which have shown that there are 58,000 fewer workless households in the East of England since 2010.

Overall across Britain the number of workless households is down 671,000 since the last election, with the proportion of workless households now at its lowest level since records began in 1996. The fall over the last year was 271,000, a record drop.

Stephen Metcalfe commented: “These figures are excellent news, and are further evidence of the positive economic impact that the Conservative’s long-term economic plan are having across the country.

Importantly, the number of children in a workless household is at a record low – this provides security for our younger generation, but also provides them with an environment where they can witness first-hand the positive impact that a working life can have for households and families.

I am so pleased to see these benefits being felt by local people across Basildon and Thurrock. We must be allowed to continue down this path towards the kind of economic security that this country needs.”
MP meets with new Roads Minister to discuss Lower Thames Crossing

Stephen Metcalfe, local Member of Parliament for South Basildon and East Thurrock has today met with John Hayes, the new Roads Minister to discuss the ongoing consultation around an additional Lower Thames Crossing and to share his and his constituents’ concerns about the two options currently under consideration, namely Options A & C.

During the meeting, the Minister confirmed that no decision was going to be taken until detailed analysis had been conducted on the two options, which is expected to lead to further public consultation towards the end of 2015 or early 2016.

The Minister also confirmed that neither of the two options was more likely to be adopted than the other and finally, that the illustrative route alignments shown in the last consultation were only indicative of some potential solutions, when in practise many permutations will be considered.

Stephen, who continues to oppose both location options, said after the meeting: “It was a constructive meeting for which I am very grateful to the Minister. John listened carefully to the arguments and agreed to look closely at the points I raised, particularly to ensure that the route chosen helps deliver the economic potential of South Essex and benefits local people.”

Stephen told the Minister the current options were designed to address a question posed a decade ago to relieve congestion at the existing crossing. What neither option does is to maximise the huge growth potential that exists in South Essex or Kent.

Stephen added: “I explained to the Minister that the current options would simply put more traffic on the A13 and the M25 and made a case for looking again at Option D which would start the creation of a new outer ring, potentially joining the Airports of Gatwick, Southend, Stansted and Luton.”

Jackie Doyle Price commented: “It is clear again from events this week that there is not enough resilience in the road network.  A new crossing that adds traffic to the M25 and the A13 will simply make the problem worse.  options a and c will not cut it.  We need option D”

The Minister said in response: “ I am grateful to my honourable Friend, Stephen Metcalfe, for raising with me his visionary views, reflecting the concerns of his constituents, and demonstrating his willingness to work with the Department for Transport to ensure that the Government makes the right decision regarding this crucial part of the country’s strategic road network. The work underway is expected to lead to public consultation on a proposed solution in late 2015 or early 2016, and will allow us to choose the best option for local people and the region’s economy.“

Sunday, 9 November 2014

Stephen Metcalfe MP celebrates the restoration of St Chads iconic church bell

Stephen Metcalfe MP has joined local community members in marking the success of a fundraising project which has raised the money to restore the iconic church bell of St Chads church in Vange. 

The bell was originally cast in 1608 and came to be owned by the church in 1958 – however unfortunately the bell developed a crack in 1966 and has remained out of use since that time.

Schools, volunteers, and local community groups have all been rallying around the project and thanks to money from the Church of England and the Heritage Lottery Fund, the cash has been secured for the restoration to take place.

Stephen Metcalfe, commenting on these events said: “This project has brought out the very best in our local community, and has proven that when working together, they can truly achieve great things.”

“It is such wonderful news that the funding has been secured to bring such a historic and important landmark back into service – especially in time for this Christmas!”

“Throughout history bells have used to call people together and on this occasion, the St Chads bell has called together our local community.”

“The area of Vange is a proud and historic place, and the sense of shared community spirit that this restoration project has brought to local people is truly moving.”