Thursday, 15 December 2016

#MyScienceInquiry: Parliament's Science and Technology Committee wants your suggestions

Experimenting with flash cotton at
a Royal Society of Chemistry event
The House of Commons Science and Technology Committee has recently created an open opportunity for the science community, schools, colleges, and the wider public to suggest science and technology areas for scrutiny.

Our cross-party committee of MPs exists to examine government policy on science and technology issues and we want to gather suggestions for topics for our next inquiry.

This is a great opportunity to get involved with setting the science and technology agenda in Westminster.

If there's an area of science that you think isn't getting the attention it deserves or where the Government needs to do better, then this is an easy way to let politicians know about it.

I would be especially proud to see people from our local area in Essex taking part and telling MPs about an important science issue.

My committee is looking forward to learning about areas of science that we might not otherwise consider.

We have held inquiries into many fascinating topics recently and have more planned for 2017 - but we want to hear your ideas too.

I'm keen to open up this part of the process and get fresh input. We're encouraging scientists and the wider public to get involved by sending us 200 words or a 1-minute video. I'm particularly keen to hear ideas from schools and colleges.

Find out more about the #MyScienceInquiry and how to participate here. The deadline for proposals is Wednesday 4 January.

Wednesday, 14 December 2016

Please donate to St Luke's Hospice

Donate to St Luke's Hospice here
In March I will be dancing a tango and a jive in front of a live, paying audience in aid of our local St Luke's Hospice in Basildon.

As the local Member of Parliament, and with no ballroom dance experience whatsoever, I will quite literally be following in the footsteps of the erstwhile Shadow Chancellor, Ed Balls!

I do not profess to be a dance of any kind but am taking part in order to raise funds for an excellent cause.

All seriously ill patients and families should have access to the highest quality palliative support and end-of-life care which is provided so ably by the brilliant staff and volunteers at St Luke's.

Dance practice has already started with my teacher Joanna Ridley and we are on track for the event in March.

Please do consider giving what little you can through my JustGiving page and we will try to make a positive difference to such an important part of our community.

My target is to raise £1,000 but if I can exceed that amount it would mean even more support for a worthy charity.

Thank you!

You can also donate to St Luke's Hospice here.

Awards night at Woodlands School

Photo from Woodlands School
I was honoured to be invited to speak at Woodlands School and give out awards to some of its highest achieving Key Stage 4 pupils.

I visited just a few months ago, back in September, to see how the school was progressing following a record-breaking year of GCSE results and at the awards night I was pleased to see signs of that progression continuing.

It was very encouraging to meet both teachers and pupils and I look forward to hearing more from the school in future.

Monday, 5 December 2016

New figures show boost in good and outstanding schools in Essex

I welcome the recent news that more local children are being taught in good or outstanding schools.

New figures from Ofsted show that 60 more schools in Essex have been judged good or outstanding in their most recent inspection compared to 2015.

In the whole of the East of England, 210 more schools have been rated as good or outstanding.

Across the country the proportion of all schools judged to be good or outstanding at their most recent inspection was 89 per cent - the highest proportion ever recorded - with both the proportion of primary and secondary schools judged at these ratings continuing to rise in every region of the country. As a result almost 1.8 million more children are now in good schools compared to 2010.

Theresa May's Government wants to build a country that works for everyone - and that means providing a good school place for every child, one that caters to their individual talents, abilities, and needs.

That's why it is great news that the latest figures show that 471 schools in Essex are now rated good or outstanding.

Conservatives are making sure every child can access high quality education, so they have the opportunity to go as far as their talents will take them, regardless of their background.

Locally, boosting education is one of the single most important things we can do to give young people the start in life they deserve.

Monday, 28 November 2016

Visiting Lee Chapel Primary School

I was pleased to visit high-flying Lee Chapel Primary School after the recent news that it is one of the top one hundred primary schools in the country.

The league tables published by the Sunday Times ranked Lee Chapel Primary School at 73rd out of nearly 17,000 state-funded primary schools across the country and the highest in Essex. The Basildon school has also been ranked as "outstanding" by Ofsted since 2007.

It was good to see first-hand all of the hard work going into improving the school and maintaining a high level of education for pupils.

I heard about the way that new classrooms are providing better spaces for teaching, and how the development of a new swimming pool will give children the opportunity to learn to swim and take part in sport, which does so much for their health and wellbeing at their early age.

I especially wanted to congratulate Head Teacher Sue Jackson and all at the school on the fantastic achievement of being ranked as one of the best schools in the country. It is a really proud moment and I am sure that everyone will want to build on this success in the future.

Wednesday, 23 November 2016

My response to the Autumn Statement

Today I welcomed the Chancellor's Autumn Statement and particularly his commitment to spend an additional £2 billion a year on Research and Development (R&D).

This extra funding will go a long way towards ensuring that our country continues to grow as a hub for science, technology and innovation.

To realise our potential and deliver on our ambitions we must also ensure that Britain remains a great place for the best talent in these fields to locate itself.

On the whole I was pleased that the Autumn Statement provides a stable economic platform for the years ahead, setting out how the Government will support the economy as Britain leaves the EU and begins a new chapter in our country's history.

You can watch a recording of my exchange with the Chancellor via below:

Monday, 21 November 2016

Strictly St Luke's: Fundraising for our local Basildon hospice

I'm pleased to be taking part in a charity dance competition for our local St Luke's Hospice in Basildon.

Seriously ill patients and their families should have access to the highest quality palliative support and end-of-life care which is provided so ably by the brilliant staff and volunteers at St Luke's.

It's an honour to be raising money for this worthy cause and I look forward to learning from my dance partner Joanna Ridley in the months ahead.

Find out more about St Luke's Hospice via its website:

Wednesday, 16 November 2016

Article for CaSE: Campaign for Science and Engineering

I was delighted to be asked to contribute a guest article for the Campaign for Science and Engineering's blog as part of my duties as Chair of Parliament's Science and Technology Committee.

I highlighted how our country has so much potential in the fields of science and engineering and also wrote about how we can make further improvements, including through greater diversity and STEM skills education.

You can read my full article for CaSE here.

Monday, 14 November 2016

Project Maja: supporting vulnerable families and homeless people in Athens

I was pleased to join the Alliance of Conservatives and Reformists in Europe (ACRE) delegation to Greece, helping to support some of the most vulnerable families and homeless people in Athens.
Supporting a charity football event in Athens.

As part of ACRE's regular social action initiative, Project Maja, MPs and MEPs from across Europe went to Greece which is still suffering badly from the financial crash of nearly a decade ago.

With an unemployment rate of 25%, and around double that for young people, many families are struggling and feel a painful lack of social security.

As part of the trip we joined forces with local charity Praksis, which helps deliver humanitarian support and medical aid to vulnerable local people.

We also teamed up with the Shedia street newspaper and its Kick Out Poverty campaign, which organises football tournaments as a way of helping homeless Greeks to feel included again in society.

Shedia is a great social enterprise initiative modelled on The Big Issue here in the UK. It offers honest work to those most in need of a hand-up and is the only street newspaper delivered in Athens and Thessaloniki.

Finally a big thank you is owed to Tottenham Hotspur FC who very kindly donated club kits to Project Maja for our charity football event, including for kids from disadvantaged backgrounds who enjoyed the chance to take part.

With Project Maja volunteers and our charity football event teams,
including homeless people and children from disadvantaged backgrounds.

Remembrance Sunday in Stanford-le-Hope

It was an honour to join members of our local community in attending a Remembrance Sunday service in Stanford-le-Hope.

It is crucial that we never forget the sacrifices of so many servicemen and women across the years, including those serving in our armed forces today, and that we continue to remember the contributions of local people during the First and Second World Wars in the previous century.

With community leaders in Stanford-le-Hope

Wednesday, 26 October 2016

Creative Careers Event for pupils at Woodlands School

It was great to visit Woodlands School as part of a Creative Careers Event run for their pupils.

With pupils from Woodlands School making a paper man!

The event was organised by the Foundation for Essex Arts and saw staff from the University of the Arts London help school children develop a better idea as to what it means to study and work in the creative industries.

I was very impressed by the way that pupils were engaged by the event and also by the educators who showed so much passion for their subject.

Chairing my first Science and Technology Committee meeting

Today I was pleased to chair my first Science and Technology Committee meeting in Parliament since being elected to the role last week.

We asked Government ministers and a department official about the implications and opportunities for science and research following the vote to leave the European Union.

You can watch a recording of the meeting below:

Monday, 24 October 2016

Elected as Chair of the Science and Technology Committee

I was delighted to be elected as the new Chair of the Science and Technology Committee in Parliament last week.

The cross-party Science and Technology Committee exists to ensure that Government policy and decision-making is based on good scientific and engineering advice and evidence. I served as a member of the Committee for the whole of the last Parliament, from 2010 to 2015.

We're living through a terrific period of technological change, so it is very exciting to be scrutinising Government policy in this area.

As Chair I will be focused on ensuring the Government does all it can to maintain the UK's status as a science superpower during the uncertain times ahead. And as a Committee we will continue to champion evidence-based policy making.

Wednesday, 19 October 2016

Speaking at Bulphan Women's Institute on climate change

It was great to be invited to visit Bulphan Women's Institute for its recent Green Hearts event, raising awareness about climate change.

Speaking at Bulphan Women's Institute's Green Hearts event

Needless to say it is an extremely important issue and we can always do more to help tackle threats to the environment. It is topical too: the Prime Minister, Theresa May, announced in September that the government has begun the domestic process for ratifying the landmark Paris Climate Agreement before the next United Nations climate talks.

I enjoyed seeing so many people, both old and young, engaging with environmental concerns and coming together as a local community.

NHS England moves to protect services at East Tilbury and Corringham Medical Centres

I welcome the news that NHS England has paused its process to close the medical centres at East Tilbury and Corringham and will instead review the decision.

NHS England had previously informed patients as to its decision to close the practices in East Tilbury and Corringham from 30 November, however it has now decided to pause and review the process and has apologised to patients for any distressed caused.

NHS England has secured an agreement with GP provider College Health Ltd so there will be no disruption to patients and their access to these primary care services.

I intervened last week and requested that further time be given to review the decision after listening to the concerns of many patients who rely upon these importance services.

I am glad that NHS England has listened and has also committed to further discussions with patients. I now look forward to a better solution being proposed for all involved parties.

Tuesday, 18 October 2016

Asking about the political situation in Iraq

I asked the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what discussions he has had with his Iraqi and other international counterparts on the political situation in Iraq.

In particular I highlighted the important role of the Kurdistan regional government and how it has been short-changed by the national Government in Baghdad. My argument was that Iraqi federalism needs to be genuine, with reliable revenue sharing.

I was pleased to hear that the UK Government recognises the work of the Kurdish peshmerga in fighting Daesh and also that the Government sees how crucial it is for Iraq to be properly united.

You can watch our exchange below via

Monday, 17 October 2016

Asking for an update on the Pension Protection Fund cap

I asked the Pensions Minister from the Department for Work and Pensions what the Government is doing to protect the pensions of long-serving employees.

Specifically, I asked for an update on when the Government plans to raise the Pension Protection Fund cap after the policy was announced in the Pensions Act 2014.

I was pleased to hear that the long service cap will come into force in April 2017 and look forward to seeing it benefit pensioners in South Basildon and East Thurrock and also the country as a whole.

You can watch our exchange via in the clip below:

Wednesday, 12 October 2016

Celebrating 12 years of Parkrun

I was recently pleased to visit Basildon Parkrun as part of the global Parkrun movement's 12th anniversary.

Speaking to Parkrunners in Basildon
During the last 12 years the Parkrun movement has grown from strength to strength and Basildon Parkrun is one of more than 900 Parkruns that take place every weekend around the world.

Every Parkrun is coordinated entirely by volunteers from the local community and open to anyone who wants to take part. They are free, weekly, timed events, consisting of a 5km course for adults and 2km for juniors, and they are accessible to runners and walkers of all ages and abilities.

Parkrun's mission is to encourage more people to take part in regular physical activity and volunteering, and to make the world a happier and healthier place.

Basildon Parkrun started nearly three years ago and is now attracting over 100 runners per week.

Its attraction is clear for all to see, which is why Basildon has registered runners starting from age four going up to 80 years young - encouraging all abilities, from walking to running.

It is a great way to get healthy and make new friends and it is also fantastic to see our public spaces used in such a positive way.

Everyone involved in making Basildon Parkrun happen deserves a big thank you, from the volunteers to the participants and of course the team at the Parkrun movement HQ who help to support our local groups.

Monday, 12 September 2016

Visit to record-breaking Woodlands School

With Woodlands School pupils
It was great to visit Woodlands School in Basildon and see first-hand how the school is developing.

I was pleased to find that Woodlands is going from strength-to-strength under the leadership of its Headteacher, Mr Simon Cox, and that it has seen a fantastic turn-around.

The school achieved record exam results in 2016, with 5 A*- C GCSE including English and Maths at 58%, representing a 10% increase on results from the year before.

The teachers and students that I met on my visit were all very impressive and I look forward to hearing more about the school's progress in the future.

Wednesday, 7 September 2016

A great community day for Basildon

It was great to go to the Love Your Borough event that took place in Basildon at the weekend. The event, organised by Basildon Council, celebrated the local community and brought together people from across our area, with activities that ranged from Brazilian capoeira to a spin bike challenge.

There was such a positive atmosphere throughout the day and it showed how much we have to be proud of in our local area.

In Basildon with Cllr Kevin Blake, Deputy Leader of Basildon Council
local resident Jeff Henry and Chairman of Basildon Rotary Club Danny Lovey

Catching up with Basildon Street Pastors at the Love Your Borough event

Later in the day I attended a civic reception for double Olympic champion Max Whitlock and the South Essex Gymnastics Club where he trains. It was fantastic to welcome Max back to Basildon after his amazing Olympic Games in Rio this summer.

We knew that we had an extraordinary gymnast in Max and it was brilliant to see him show that to a global audience through his historic double gymnastics gold for Team GB.

The whole team at South Essex Gymnastics Club deserve the highest praise, including Max's coach Scott Hann and the gym's leader Roy Short.

Max Whitlock speaking at the civic reception in Basildon

Wednesday, 10 August 2016

Visiting Basildon Hospital Radio's BHR1287 studio

I enjoyed my latest visit to Basildon Hospital Radio's BHR1287 studio for its Sunday request programme.
With volunteers and other guests at BHR1287
The radio station has a fantastic team of volunteers, who provide entertainment, news, and information to patients 24/7. This great community service is driven by the energy and commitment of those who help to run it, and I am always impressed by the level of enthusiasm I see on my visits to the station.

A big thank you to all the volunteers at BHR1287 for producing quality content for patients at the hospital.

In the BHR1287 studio for the request programme

Monday, 25 July 2016

Opening the new pitch at Bowers & Pitsea FC

It was a pleasure to be invited to officially open the new pitch at Bowers & Pitsea Football Club following its recent development.

Thank you to everyone at the club for the warm welcome and best of luck for next season!

Officially opening Bower & Pitsea FC's new pitch.
Photo by NashPhotography

Thursday, 7 July 2016

Supporting Tesco Food Collection in Pitsea

I was pleased to take part in the Tesco Food Collection in Pitsea, which provides support for the local food bank.

Well done to the brilliant and energetic team as well as all those who donated, making a real difference to people's lives in the community.

Helping the brilliant Tesco Food Collection team in Pitsea

Saturday, 2 July 2016

Celebrating Armed Forces Day in Orsett

It was great to celebrate Armed Forces Day at Orsett Showground, where many local people turned out to show their appreciation for our fantastic servicemen and women.

Thank you to Dan Rogers and all who helped to make the event a success and, as ever, thank you to members of the armed forces community who we came together to support.

Speaking at Orsett Showground's Armed Forces Day event

Wednesday, 29 June 2016

Prime Minister's Questions

During Prime Minister's Question time I asked David Cameron to join me in thanking all those involved in organising the Forget Never - The Somme project in Basildon.

Speaking at Prime Minister's Question time

Forget Never commemorates the 100 year anniversary of the Battle of the Somme in World War One, which was the bloodiest day in British military history with an enormous amount of casualties.

It is important that young people have the chance to learn the lessons of the past and that we all remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice.

You can watch a recording of my question and the Prime Minister's response here.

Wednesday, 22 June 2016

Supporting Royal British Legion census campaign

I was pleased to meet with members of the Armed Forces community and back their 'Count Them In' campaign, which aims to include new questions on the UK census.

Supporting the 'Count Them In' campaign in Parliament
It is estimated that there are currently between 6.5 million and 6.7 million members of the Armed Forces community living in the UK, representing about a tenth of the population. However little is known about the exact number and needs of this important group.

Including new questions on the next UK census would provide public bodies, local authorities, and charities with valuable information to ensure they are able to deliver the best services they can for our Armed Forces community.

Our brave servicemen and women are dedicated to keeping this country safe and where we can help them, we should. This worthwhile campaign by the Royal British Legion deserves our full support.

Thursday, 16 June 2016

EU referendum discussion at Northlands Primary School

I recently visited Northlands Primary School in Basildon where I was invited to listen to pupils' views on the EU referendum and take part in their big discussion.

The pupils prepared a range of written work containing their views which they presented to me and I helped answer any questions they had.

It was a fantastic visit and I enjoyed the chance to discuss such a topical issue with the pupils. They asked very thoughtful questions on what the European Union means in relation to our country and I was impressed by the level of understanding they showed.

The result of the EU referendum will affect everyone across the country, both young and old. It is a truly once in a generation choice whether to remain in the EU or to leave and it is crucial that everyone examines the issues on both sides of the debate and ultimately votes in this vital referendum.

Celebrating the Queen's 90th birthday

On Saturday I was pleased to join local residents in marking the Queen's 90th Birthday at St Catherine's Church in East Tilbury. 

It was a fantastic community occasion and an opportunity to celebrate the reign of our longest-serving monarch. Thanks to all who made the event such a great success.

With Cllr James Halden and community volunteers celebrating the Queen's 90th Birthday

Then on Sunday I joined the celebrations at Westlake Park in Bowers Gifford where although it was raining a hardy few turned out!

Credit to Bowers Gifford Parish Council and the volunteers who organised a superb day for everyone.

Braving the weather at Westlake Park for a community picnic

Monday, 6 June 2016

Time to end discrimination against guide dog owners

I recently met with guide dog owners in Westminster to discuss their "Access All Areas" campaign, led by the national Guide Dogs charity.

The campaign wants guide dog owners to be able to carry out everyday activities such as travelling by taxi or going to the local shops without the risk of being unfairly turned away.

According to law, guide dog owners are allowed the same access to shops, restaurants, and taxis as everyone else, but currently three out of every four are rejected because of their dog.

I am pleased to support this campaign and its call for disability equality training as well as for offenders to be properly punished under the law when they illegally discriminate against guide dog owners.

It is important that we raise awareness of this issue and that guide dog owners have the full support of local communities and businesses.

You can find out more about the Access All Areas campaign and how you can support it here.

Wednesday, 18 May 2016

EU referendum: make sure your voice is heard

The upcoming EU referendum is now just over a month away and I would encourage everyone who is eligible to vote to register before the deadline on 7 June.

On 23 June we will all get the chance to decide whether the UK should remain a member of the European Union or leave, and as this is a once in a generation chance to vote on the issue it is crucial that every voice is heard.

The referendum will work like a normal UK parliamentary election and it is important to note that if you are already on the electoral roll, you do not need to register again. Likewise if for whatever reason you require a postal or proxy vote then please make sure to sign up for one.

For more information please read this useful EU Referendum Voting Guide that has been put together by the Electoral Commission. A physical copy of the guide will also be sent to every UK household.

Thursday, 21 April 2016

Lower Thames Crossing meeting with Roads Minister

Stephen Metcalfe, Member of Parliament for South Basildon & East Thurrock, has met with local campaigners and councillors to discuss Lower Thames Crossing plans with Roads Minister Andrew Jones MP.

(l-r) George Abbott, Matt Jackson, Andrew Jones MP,
Cllr John Kent, Cllr Brian Little, and Stephen Metcalfe MP
At the private meeting, which took place yesterday in Westminster, the group discussed the recent Highways England consultation that received in excess of 30,000 responses and sought assurances from the minister that no final decision has been taken on plans for the new crossing.

Also in attendance were Cllr John Kent, Leader of Thurrock Council, Orsett Cllr Brian Little, Chair of the Transport scrutiny committee, and local resident campaigners George Abbott and Matt Jackson.

Mr Metcalfe commented: "I was pleased to help organise this productive meeting with the minister from the Department for Transport, Andrew Jones MP.

"We all made the case to the minister that the Lower Thames Crossing will involve huge levels of investment and that the ongoing process must be handled carefully and properly.

"The minister assured us that no decision has yet been made. He agreed that he would consider the points we made about problems with the existing crossing and Option C, and that he would also investigate how the possibility of a crossing further east from Option C came to be discounted."

He added: "The Lower Thames Crossing is a key issue for our area and it is crucial that the right decision is made. I will keep working hard to ensure that our local communities have a voice in Westminster."

Thursday, 14 April 2016

Stephen Metcalfe MP welcomes c2c deal bringing thousands of extra train seats for commuters

Stephen Metcalfe, Member of Parliament for South Basildon & East Thurrock, has welcomed the announcement by train operator c2c that commuters are to benefit from 13,000 extra seats at peak times every week.

Stephen meeting with Rail Minister Claire Perry MP
A new deal between c2c and the Department for Transport will deliver 24 brand-new additional carriages in 2016 - three years earlier than previously planned.

Subject to the final signing of contracts, the new carriages will start entering passenger service this October, with all of the new trains to be delivered by the end of the year.

Mr Metcalfe commented: "I am delighted that a deal has been reached between c2c and the Department for Transport, bringing thousands of much-needed extra seats to commuters who use the busy rail service.

"For months, John Baron MP and I have been working with both c2c and the government to help find a way forward. I have met with c2c and the minister from the Department for Transport, Claire Perry, on a number of occasions and I am pleased that diligent, behind-the-scenes hard work on all sides has delivered a good outcome for everyone involved.

"I am now in the process of arranging a meeting between passengers and c2c to start to get both sides working together. It is vital that the good news does not stop here and that commuters who rely upon efficient train links to London see even more improvements in future."

Wednesday, 13 April 2016

Stephen Metcalfe MP meets Basildon taxi drivers to discuss future of Trafford Bowl

Stephen Metcalfe, Member of Parliament for South Basildon & East Thurrock, has met with members of the Basildon Taxi Drivers' Association to discuss the future of the town's "Trafford Bowl" car park.

Stephen Metcalfe MP (left) with Ralph Morgan (centre)
and Mark Waller from Basildon Taxi Drivers' Association.
The car park was threatened with closure following the discovery that South Essex Parking Partnership had been charging people to park there without permission. It has now been temporarily re-opened while its future is discussed by owners the Homes and Communities Agency.

Mr Metcalfe said: "It was good to meet with local taxi drivers and listen to their concerns about the future of the Trafford Bowl car park.

"The bowl is an important site for commuters accessing Basildon and our train station. It is clear that they could lose out if nothing is done to protect the facility of a designated taxi rank.

"I have written to the Homes and Communities Agency to make sure that these concerns are heard and that commuters are kept in mind throughout the decision-making process."

Stephen Metcalfe MP visits The Business Association

Stephen Metcalfe, Member of Parliament for South Basildon & East Thurrock, has met with members of The Business Association of Basildon and District to listen to the concerns of local businesses and discuss how they can be further supported.

Stephen Metcalfe MP (right) with TBA chairman
Alan Osborn (centre) and Caroline Gerrard
from Essex-based charity Peaceful Place. (Credit: TBA)
The Business Association, chaired by Alan Osborn, welcomes all types of business from the self-employed to the largest employers and includes members from a wide range of sectors including accountancy, web design, and security.

The lunch meeting took place at Club Kingswood in Basildon and a variety of issues were discussed including current Government policy and the forthcoming EU referendum.

Mr Metcalfe said: "I enjoyed the chance to visit The Business Association and talk to its members, whose businesses form the backbone of our local Basildon economy.

"The recent tax reforms introduced by the Conservative government will help Basildon's businesses to grow. The government must continue to ensure that local businesses receive the necessary support to thrive and create more jobs."

He added: "It is also clear that the EU referendum is a hot topic of conversation for businesspeople in the local area.

"This will be the biggest decision for business in a generation and I believe that although there might be some short-term risks in leaving the EU, businesses like those represented by The Business Association could see long-term benefits, and I was pleased to see that the majority present seemed to agree.

"Ultimately however it is for the British public to carefully consider the arguments on both sides and make a final decision on 23 June and vote in the interests of themselves, their family, our country and of course, in this case, their business."

Monday, 11 April 2016

Stephen Metcalfe MP visits Woodland Warriors

Stephen Metcalfe, Member of Parliament for South Basildon & East Thurrock, recently visited Woodland Warriors, an outdoor programme that teaches young children basic skills through play.

Stephen receiving 'carbon footprints' from
Tiffany Belford-Fry and the Woodland Warriors.
Woodland Warriors, based in Wat Tyler Country Park, helps local children to become more self-confident and to care about the environment, while encouraging them to try cooking, whittling, den-building, and mini-beast hunting.

Mr Metcalfe said: "It was great to visit Woodland Warriors and see the amazing work that they do with local children and to be presented with the childrens' thoughts on how they can help the environment, written on their own cut-out 'carbon footprints'.

"I was very impressed by the dedicated and friendly staff at Woodland Warriors and also by the children, who enjoyed a fantastic opportunity to learn about the environment."

He added: "It is crucial that the next generation grows up with good environmental awareness, as protecting the planet must be a key priority now and in the years ahead."

Stephen displaying the childrens' thoughts on
the environment in Westminster Hall.

Tuesday, 22 March 2016

Stephen Metcalfe MP welcomes Budget for the next generation

Stephen Metcalfe, Member of Parliament for South Basildon & East Thurrock, welcomed the Conservative government's recent Budget.

The Budget includes measures to help younger generations, by introducing a new Lifetime ISA for under-40s, improving schools with fairer funding, and putting a new sugar levy on the soft drinks industry to help tackle childhood obesity.

Mr Metcalfe said: "I was pleased to see that younger generations will benefit most from this Budget.

"It is important to encourage a saving culture among young people and the Lifetime ISA will help towards that all-important first home and saving for retirement.

"The introduction of a fair National Funding Formula for schools will help ensure that 90 per cent of schools benefit from much-needed funds by 2020, including our local schools which I am always keen to see supported.

"This commitment to fairer funding for schools is also a commitment to improving life chances for local children, making sure that they can compete in an ever more competitive world."

He added: "The sugar tax is a bold and important move towards tackling childhood obesity.

"It was good to hear that this new levy on the soft drinks industry will help reduce the sugar content of their products and that the money raised from it will be used to double sports funding in primary schools, encouraging healthier lifestyle habits from an early age."

He finished: "Taken as a whole, the Budget demonstrates that Conservatives are putting the next generation first and ensuring that Britain is fit for the future."

Stephen Metcalfe MP opens new site for dBD Communications

Stephen Metcalfe, Member of Parliament for South Basildon & East Thurrock, opened local business dBD Communications' third site in Basildon.

dBD Communications is a fast-growing company, specialising in Audio Communications with RF and Microwave solutions.

dBD works with large organisations such as Network Rail by developing safety communications systems, and has experienced continued growth since it was created in 2002, now employing over 40 people locally.

Mr Metcalfe said: "It was great to be invited to share in the continued success of dBD Communications and to help open their new facility.

"Businesses like dBD are the backbone of our local and national economy, and are driving us forward by creating jobs and apprenticeships."

He added: "It is crucial for government to provide a stable environment for business growth and investment, and I was pleased to see tax reduction measures in the recent Budget that will make a difference to local companies like dBD."