Thursday, 29 January 2015

Local MP ask is it time for a “Local List”?

Stephen Metcalfe, local MP for South Basildon and East Thurrock has today spoken of his disappointment that the historic Old Rectory building in Bowers Gifford is to be redeveloped.

The building was first recorded on the 1777 Andres and Chapman Map, and for many nearby residents has become a local landmark.

Previous attempts to protect the building through the English Heritage listing have failed, and plans have now been approved to demolish the building.

Stephen Metcalfe commented: “I am, of course, disappointed by the news that development of this historic site is going ahead. It is a shame for local residents and the entire community when such a unique landmark is lost in this way”.

“However, had there been a ‘local list’ we may have been able to protect such an important and iconic LOCAL landmark. Being a predominately new town, our local heritage is sparse but our local identity is strong, that it is why it is important to protect what we do have.”

“Therefore, I will be contacting the local Council, firstly to see if every possible avenue truly has been explored to save the Old Rectory. Secondly, I will also be asking the council how we might proceed with starting the process of creating a local list, so that this can be avoided in the future.”

“As part of this process, I am asking that local people start to consider which particular buildings of interest they believe might be worthy of consideration for a local list. It is important that the views of local residents are heard on these matters and any process involved with protecting local landmarks should involve their opinions.”

Stephen Metcalfe MP signs Holocaust Educational Trust Book of Commitment

Stephen Metcalfe, local MP for South Basildon and East Thurrock has this week signed the Holocaust Educational Trust’s Book of Commitment. In doing so, he has pledged his commitment to Holocaust Memorial Day and honouring those who were murdered during the Holocaust. The signing also acts as a tribute to the extraordinary Holocaust survivors who work tirelessly to educate young people.

Tuesday the 27th of January marked the 70th anniversary of the liberation of the Nazi concentration and death camp Auschwitz-Birkenau, the site of the largest mass murder in history.

In the weeks leading up to and after Holocaust Memorial Day, thousands of commemorative events will be arranged by schools, faith groups and community organisations across the country, remembering all the victims of the Holocaust and subsequent genocides. 

After the signing, Stephen Metcalfe commented: “Holocaust Memorial Day is an important opportunity for us all to remember the victims and survivors of the Holocaust and ensure that the lessons of history are not forgotten.”

“I know that my constituents will join me in marking this important occasion, and will all bear in mind the importance of tolerance in the fight against prejudice”.

Karen Pollock MBE, Chief Executive of the Holocaust Educational Trust, said: “We are proud that Stephen Metcalfe is supporting Holocaust Memorial Day. As we mark the 70th anniversary of the end of the Holocaust and the liberation of the concentration camps in 2015, it is vitally important that we both continue to remember and learn from the appalling events of the Holocaust – as well as ensuring that we continue to challenge anti-Semitism and all forms of bigotry.”

Friday, 23 January 2015

Local MP welcomes record levels of employment

Stephen Metcalfe, local MP for South Basildon and East Thurrock has today welcomed new statistics which show that the number of people out of work in the UK has fallen, in the three months to November, to the lowest level in more than six years.

The numbers from the Office of National Statistics show that countrywide there were 30.80 million people in work.

In addition, comparing September to November 2014 with the previous year, shows that pay for employees increased by 1.7%.

For Stephen Metcalfe's constituency of South Basildon and East Thurrock, the latest data shows that the number of claimants of Job Seeker's Allowance in December 2014 had fallen to 1,183. This is 767 lower than in December the year before.

Stephen Metcalfe speaking today commented, “The evidence shows that the Conservative long-term economic plan continues to bring further security to the British people and their families.”

“We now have record numbers of people in work. And despite what Labour might claim, wages are actually growing AHEAD of inflation, with disposable income now higher than in any year under the last Labour Government.”

“It is laughable that Ed Miliband predicted that the Conservative economic plan would 'lead to the disappearance of a million jobs'. There are now 1.75 million more people in work! This is a fantastic achievement.”

“I am so pleased to see these economic benefits being felt in the local community of Basildon and Thurrock. Letting Labour get their hands on our economy, would risk all of the progress we have made so far. We cannot allow this to happen”.

Monday, 19 January 2015

Latest local school in daytrip to meet MP in Parliament

Schoolchildren from Great Berry Primary School have today met with local MP Stephen Metcalfe as part of a daytrip to Westminster.

During their visit, pupils were treated to a Parliamentary tour, including a visit to the House of Commons and House of Lords, and were given lessons on the rich history of the Westminster Palace.

Stephen Metcalfe was there to greet the pupils on their arrival, and spoke to them about the working life of a Member of Parliament and the importance of the British Parliament.

The visit is one of a number, following an invitation issued to local schools to visit Parliament. This year more than ever, as we celebrate the 800th Anniversary of the signing of the Magna Carta it is important that young people understand the rich history of this country and our important role in creating global rule of law.

Great Berry Primary School has been the second school in as many weeks to organise a trip to Parliament, with schoolchildren from Kingswood Junior School being given the same opportunity last week.

Stephen Metcalfe commented: “I am so pleased to have the chance to meet local pupils from the constituency again in Parliament. It is a wonderful way to begin my week in Westminster.”

“It is so important that we teach our children about how important Parliament is, especially this year, to the lives of the British people and the wider world. I thank the staff at Great Berry Primary for giving their pupils this great opportunity.”
Local MP welcomes new figures on start-up loans for Basildon and Thurrock

Local Conservative MP Stephen Metcalfe has today welcomed figures that show the Government’s Start-Up Loans Scheme has helped 30 people in his constituency South Basildon and East Thurrock set up their own business – helping to provide growth and jobs for hardworking families across Britain.

The Start-Up Loans scheme provides loans and mentoring support to people who want to start their own businesses. Across the country, 25,000 Start-Up Loans have now been awarded, worth a total of nearly £130 million and generating more than 32,000 new jobs.

Stephen Metcalfe commented: “The Conservative Party understands the need to back the small businesses which bring jobs to our local communities. Our long-term plan is aiming to make Britain the best place in the world to start and grow a business.”

“Today’s figures show not only the huge impact these measures are having on our local community in Basildon and Thurrock, but also the entire country. In the East of England region alone, the number of loans awarded has reached 1,689; with a total value of £7,853,207. This is an incredible achievement.”

“This is helping more businesses create more jobs - and crucially, it means that potential and ideas don’t go to waste. If the Conservatives win the election, we will go even further – tripling the number of people who will get Start-Up Loans to 75,000 by 2020, so even more people have the support they need to grow their businesses and create jobs.”

“Over 99 per cent of British businesses are small in size. They really are the backbone of our economy and I am proud of the level of support they have received from the Conservatives over the last 5 years. It is vital that we continue to do this.”
Stephen Metcalfe MP welcomes new National Savings and Investments Bond for pensioners

Local MP for South Basildon and East Thurrock, Stephen Metcalfe, has today welcomed the launch of a new National Savings and Investments Bond for pensioners.

The new bonds for people aged 65 and over will offer market-leading rates and support people who rely on their savings in retirement. Two bonds are being launched:

A one year bond will offer returns of 2.8 per cent gross/AER interest,
A three year bond will pay 4 per cent gross/AER interest.

£10 billion has been made available to allow these bonds to be issued – this should ensure these bonds are on the market for a period of months, giving those pensioners who wish to take advantage of the rates plenty of time to do so.

Stephen Metcalfe commented: “The Conservatives understand that it is crucial we support savers and boost hardworking peoples’ financial security at all stages of life.”

“That’s why we’ve introduced government-backed savings bonds for people aged 65 and over that pay the best interest rates in the market. They have already been a huge success and because this is the biggest ever retail bond offer, these bonds will be available for many months.”

“This is great news for pensioners in South Basildon and East Thurrock. It is time that savers were rewarded and these bonds do that by giving older savers the certainty and comfort of a good return over the life of their investment.”

Thursday, 15 January 2015

Local MP hails Basildon and Thurrock success during Prime Minister’s Questions

Stephen Metcalfe, MP for South Basildon and East Thurrock has spoken in the House of Commons during Prime Minister’s Questions about his constituency’s economic success under the Conservative Government.

Addressing the Prime Minister, Stephen Metcalfe rose to the floor and asked: “Unemployment down 40%, youth unemployment down 45%, long-term unemployment down 44%, business start-ups up 31% and 800 apprenticeship starts—all in the last year in South Basildon and East Thurrock. What does my right hon. Friend think that says about our long-term economic plan?”

The Prime Minister, replying to Stephen answered: “I am delighted at the news that my hon. Friend brings. It is remarkable how in almost every constituency in this House the number of people claiming unemployment benefit is down and the number of young people claiming benefit is down. There are 224,000—almost a quarter of a million—more people in work in the east of England as a whole. Those are statistics, but every one of those statistics is about someone who is going out and earning a wage, supporting their family and managing to achieve a better standard of living. That is what we must continue with, and that is why we must stick to the long-term economic plan.”

Stephen Metcalfe later commented: “I was pleased to bring Parliament’s attention the good news that more people in my constituency now have the security of a regular pay packet and all the benefits that brings.”

“Following the disaster of Labour great recession, my constituents have seen dramatic changes, with their local area moving from strength to strength.”

“In many ways, South Basildon and East Thurrock has become a marker of the country’s wider economic successes. In the coming months, we cannot allow Labour to get their hands on our economy, and ruin all of the progress we have made.”

Monday, 12 January 2015

Kingswood Junior School students visit Parliament

Stephen Metcalfe, local MP for South Basildon and East Thurrock has today met with local schoolchildren in Parliament as part of their school trip to Westminster.

During their visit, the Kingswood Junior School pupils were treated to a Parliamentary tour, including a visit to the both chambers of the House of Commons and House of Lords, and were given lessons on the rich history of the Palace of Westminster.

The students were greeted by Stephen Metcalfe on arrival, who welcomed them and spoke to them about what it was like to work as a Member of Parliament.

Stephen Metcalfe later commented: “I was delighted to welcome the pupils from Kingswood to Parliament today. It was great to speak to them about my job as a Member of Parliament and discuss how important the Palace of Westminster is to the lives of the British people.”

“The Kingswood staff have done an excellent job with organising today’s trip for the pupils. I thank them for all of the work they have done for our local schoolchildren. They remain an invaluable part of our community”.
Local MP congratulates nearly 800 constituents on starting an apprenticeship

Last week, local MP for South Basildon and East Thurrock Stephen Metcalfe, spoke in Parliament on the subject of apprenticeships. Addressing Minister Nick Boles, Stephen asked: “What steps his Department is taking to increase the number of apprenticeships.”

The Minister replied: “We have achieved our ambition of 2 million new apprenticeships since 2010. The apprenticeship grant for employers is helping smaller business to take on new apprentices. From April 2016, employers will not be required to pay employer national insurance contributions for apprentices under the age of 25.”

Keen to raise the recent successes of local constituents Stephen then asked, “Will the Minister join me in congratulating the nearly 800 people in my constituency who started an apprenticeship last year? However, it is not just about quantity; it is also about quality. What steps is he taking to raise quality as well as quantity?”

The Minister, responded “I am delighted to congratulate those who started apprenticeships in my hon. Friend’s constituency this year. There has been a 40% increase since 2009-10 in the number of people starting apprenticeships in his constituency. They are higher-quality apprenticeships than those that existed under the previous Government. They have to last at least 12 months, and they have to be a real job with a real employer. That is a key part of the economic plan that is improving conditions for young people in his constituency.”

Speaking later, Stephen commented: “The Conservatives recognise that it is essential that as part of our long-term economic plan to give people the necessary skills to get on in life.”

“This Government has ensured that our young people, not only have more apprenticeship opportunities available to them; but that they are also of excellent quality. Young people are now gaining valuable experience in a way that has not been seen before, and this is really breathing new life into our economy”.

“Since the Conservatives have come to Government, there has been a 40% increase in the number of people starting an apprenticeship in my constituency. I am so pleased to see local residents in Basildon and Thurrock benefit from these Government changes.”

Thursday, 8 January 2015

Stephen Metcalfe MP welcomes latest unemployment figures

Local MP for South Basildon and East Thurrock Stephen Metcalfe has recently welcomed the latest figures which show that the number of Job Seekers Allowance claimants for November fell to 1,234 down from 2,762 in April 2010. This represents a 55% fall in unemployment since the Conservatives came to Government.

Stephen Metcalfe commented: “This is further evidence that the Conservative long-term economic plan is having a direct impact on the lives of people across Basildon and Thurrock.”

“After Labour’s great recession, the Conservatives are helping people get off benefits and back into work. This is happening because we’ve been backing businesses to create more jobs with lower taxes and better infrastructure, and fixing the welfare system to make sure work pays.”

“What we saw at the end of 2014 is more people than ever before feeling financially secure and able to provide for their families last Christmas.”

“Over three quarters of the number of people in work since the election are in full-time jobs and account for 95 per cent of the rise in employment over the past year.”

Stephen Metcalfe’s comments have also followed the release of statistics which show that youth unemployment is 185,000 lower than at the election and the number of young people claiming the main unemployment benefit is at its lowest level since the 1970s. 

The number of women in work is also at a record high of 14.4 million, something which Stephen Metcalfe has been particularly keen to emphasise.

Across the country, overall employment is now up by 1.75 million since the Conservatives came to Government at the last election.

Stephen Metcalfe MP speaks up for digital inclusion

Local MP, Stephen Metcalfe for South Basildon and East Thurrock has this week spoken in Parliament on the issue of ‘digitising Government services’ and how it will affect his constituents.

Stephen Metcalfe, rising to the floor of the House of Commons, addressed the Cabinet Office Minister Francis Maude and asked: “What future plans he has to achieve efficiency and reform savings by digitising Government services?”

The Minister replied: “As part of our long-term economic plan, we are moving a first wave of 25 public services online. Our future plans are to secure further savings by digitising more public services and moving to a “Government as a platform” model, building common digital infrastructure for services that improves the user experience and saves money by building common services only once.”

Stephen Metcalfe, keen to ensure that the needs of his constituents are kept in mind when new reforms are implemented, replied by asking: “How are the Government working with the private sector and voluntary sector in Thurrock and Basildon to ensure that my constituents have the relevant training to be able to access these services?”

The Minister replied: “Britain already has a high level of digital inclusion, and it is rising, but we are determined to go further and get more people online. We are working closely with almost 70 organisations from the private and voluntary sectors that are signed up to our digital inclusion charter.”

Stephen Metcalfe later commented: “I believe it is vital that as the natural process of digitising many of our Government services continues, that we keep in mind the needs of those who will actually be using them and do not allow a digital divide to be created.”

“Overall, this all forms part of the Conservative long-term economic plan. There is so much to be gained in digitising Government services, both for the private and public sectors, as well as charitable organisations. And I am pleased to see the Government taking the issue of digital inclusion seriously.”

Wednesday, 7 January 2015

Local MP remains determined to defend Basildon and Thurrock’s economic progress

As Parliament sits again for the New Year, Stephen Metcalfe MP for South Basildon and East Thurrock has spoken of his determination to protect the recent economic successes of his constituency.

Stephen Metcalfe’s comments follow recent claims made by Labour which have accused Conservative plans of taking public spending ‘back to the levels of the 1930s’.

Stephen Metcalfe commented: “This is simply not true, and is typical Labour scaremongering. As confirmed by the independent Office for Budget Responsibility, our plans would mean that spending on public services would be at the level that it was in 2002/2003 – when Labour were in power!”

“In truth, when the Conservatives came into office in 2010, the UK was on the brink of bankruptcy. Jobs were in jeopardy and the British people were rightly concerned about the futures of their families.”

“But now, here we are at the start of 2015, and our economy has grown faster than any other major advanced nation! More people are in work than ever before and the deficit has been halved. We have provided more security during people’s retirement and income tax has been cut for over 24 million hardworking people”.

“I urge my constituents not to believe Labour when they say that the Conservatives think that our economic difficulties are over. We all know this not to be true – tough decisions still need to be made.”

“But we have made real gains in the last 5 years, and now is NOT the time to be putting our economic recovery at risk. That is why I will be fighting hard to ensure we have a Conservative Government and we continue on the road to economic security and avoid Labours reckless plans for more tax, more borrowing and more spending .”

Monday, 5 January 2015

Stephen Metcalfe MP: welcomes start of M25 J30/A13 improvement work

Stephen Metcalfe, MP for South Basildon and East Thurrock has today welcomed the £55m project to improve the M25 J20/A13 junction due to start early this year.

Funding for the project was announced in Autumn 2012, with a commitment that the work would begin before March 2015. The A13 through the junction will be widened to four lanes in each direction. Slip roads to and from the M25 are also to be improved.

Stephen Metcalfe commented: “This is great news! I know that my constituents will be very pleased to hear that this vital work is to begin shortly. Jackie Doyle-Price has done a brilliant job at representing the views of local residents on this issue and I congratulate her for helping to achieve this result.”

Saturday, 3 January 2015

Stephen Metcalfe MP welcomes installation of noise barrier in Vange

Stephen Metcalfe, local MP for South Basildon and East Thurrock, has welcomed the installation of a noise barrier in The Meads, Vange, following his campaign with local Conservative councillors.

Residents in The Meads have long been complaining about the unacceptable levels of noise caused by the high volume of traffic from the Pitsea flyover and have been calling for a noise barrier to be installed.

Plans for a barrier were submitted to the Highways panel but were subsequently turned down. Thanks to the hard work of local residents, the local MP and Conservative councillors, this decision was overturned and the barrier has now been installed.

Stephen Metcalfe commented: “Whilst this is good news for local residents who have had to put up with unacceptable noise levels for too long, we now need to access how successful it has been.  This is a huge step in the right direction and a welcome addition, but I will be asking Essex County Council to conduct another noise assessment to confirm its effectiveness.”

“I would like to thank all those who have worked hard with me to see the barrier installed and want to assure residents of my continued support.”