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  1. National

Cameron identifies Britain's 'national weakness'

In a speech today, Prime Minister David Cameron will establish key dividing lines with Labour over policy and the direction of the coalition government.

He is to say:

We have identified, very clearly, our key areas of national weakness compared to the rest of the world.

One - our debt-fuelled, unbalanced economy. Two - our bloated welfare system. Three - our under-performing education system.

These are the priorities that define and drive our domestic agenda. A stronger economy. Welfare that works. A world-class education system. And we are pursuing them with ruthless ambition for everyone in this country.

Mr Cameron will cite changes to the planning system, the welfare shake-up and restrictions on non-EU migration among the coalition's achievements.

  1. National

PM to set out vision for Britain at home and abroad

Prime Minister David Cameron. Credit: Andrew Cowie/PA Wire/Press Association Images

David Cameron will risk the wrath of Tory backbenchers by making the European Union a key part of his vision for Britain's future.

The Prime Minister is to stress the importance of being at the "top table" in institutions such as the EU, saying membership is in the national interest.

The intervention comes in a speech in Essex tomorrow, billed as setting out the UK's role in the world ahead of the G8 conference in Northern Ireland.

Mr Cameron will argue that the Government is in a "battle for Britain's future", blaming Labour for "passing the buck".

He will acknowledge the pain of austerity, but insist the country has started reforming "just in time" with a "complete plan for national renewal".

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Cameron pays tribute to Suffolk rescuers

David Cameron has paid tribute to the lifeboat crew which helped to rescue dozens of swimmers in Southwold last week.

During Prime Minister's Questions, he said that the RNLI should be treated as an emergency service after Suffolk Coastal MP Therese Coffey asked him to join her in thanking the volunteers.

Hundreds of swimmers got into trouble during the Southwold Pub to Pier swim after the tide suddenly turned.

  1. National

PM: We must ensure those coming here are brightest

Outlining his immigration plans, David Cameron has said: "Under the previous government immigration was far too high and the system was badly out of control. Net migration needs to come down radically from hundreds of thousands a year to just tens of thousands."

He added: "As we bring net migration down, so we must also make sure that Britain continues to benefit from it...

"That means ensuring the people who do come here are the brightest and the best, the people we really need with the skills and entrepreneurial talent to help create the British jobs and growth that will help us to win in the global race."

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  1. National

Immigrants 'significantly less likely' to claim benefits

Jonathan Portes, director of the National Institute for Economic and Social Research, said immigrants were "significantly less likely" to claim benefits than people born in the UK - and that those coming from EU countries put more into the economy than they took out.

He told the BBC Radio 4 Today programme arrivals were mostly younger people whereas the bulk of spending went on healthcare and pensions for older people.

"All the evidence suggests that people who come here from within the European Union make a substantial net contribution to the public finances - they pay in far more than they take out," he said.

He also played down the impact of health tourism as a "minuscule" part of a wider funding issue.

Prime Minister to visit region

David Cameron will be at a college in Buckinghamshire Credit: PA

The Prime Minister, David Cameron is in the region today.

He will be at a college in Buckinghamshire to mark the start of National Apprenticeship week.

According to recent figures, 45,820 people started apprenticeships in the East of England last year, a rise of 15.2% on the previous year.

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