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Kent schools still waiting for rebuilds

It's four years since the government scrapped a major programme to rebuild hundreds of schools. Some transferred to a replacement scheme, but for several in the region no plans have been drawn up - and they don't know when work will actually begin.

In total - 13 schools in poor condition are due to be rebuilt in Kent - they include Smarden Primary, Westlands Primary and Aylesham Primary.

Kent cabinet member for education, Cllr Roger Gough, says progress has been slow - and things would have progressed much more quickly if rebuilds had been organised locally.

The government though says work is ahead of schedule and all schools will be completed by 2017. Our social affairs correspondent Christine Alsford reports on the conditions some school are having to cope with while they wait.

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McVey: Employment rise reward for country's resilience

The country's "resilience" during the economic downturn "is being rewarded" after figures released today showed a fall in unemployment, Employment Minister Esther McVey said.

Employment Minister Esther McVey
Employment Minister Esther McVey. Credit: PA

Read more: Unemployment falls by 121,000 to 2.12 million

She said: "An important milestone has been reached in our country's recovery. With one of the highest employment rates ever, it's clear that the Government's long-term economic plan to help businesses create jobs and get people working again is the right one.

"With an employment rate which has never been higher, record women in work and more young people in jobs, the resilience of the country during the downturn is being rewarded.

"We know there is more to do, and the best way to do so is to go on delivering a plan that's creating growth and jobs."

Read: Esther McStay - why has she missed out on a promotion again?

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Cameron: Full employment key aim of economic plan

David Cameron has welcomed today's figures which shows there has been a fall in unemployment.

The Prime Minister tweeted that the figures "show more people have the security of a job than ever before".

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Today's figures show more people have the security of a job than ever before. Full employment is a key aim of our #LongTermEconomicPlan.

Read more: Unemployment falls by 121,000 to 2.12 million

Minster says "right decision will be made" on Thames Crossing.

by David Johns (@davidjohns_itv)

It's a route used by more than a hundred thousand drivers a day. The Dartford Crossing is one of the biggest pinch-points for the south-east road network. Today the Government said it will do a detailed study of two final options for a new crossing over the Thames.

But some debate whether it's needed. David Johns reports, speaking to Roads Minister Robert Goodwill and Thurrock Council leader John Kent (Lab).

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PM: 'We can't defend realm from white cliffs of Dover'

Prime Minister David Cameron has said the £1.1 billion military investment announced today will deal with global terrorism and cyber criminals rather than old-fashioned notions of border defence.

Writing in The Daily Telegraph, he said:

Today's investment demonstrates our approach to national security. There are those who believe we would be safer if we fundamentally retreated from the world. They see new warships and military investment and imagine a Government bent on foreign adventurism.

But the plain fact is that in the 21st century, you cannot defend the realm from the white cliffs of Dover. Terrorist plots hatched thousands of miles away threaten to cause harm on our streets. When fragile and lawless states fracture, migration flows can affect us right here.

Read: Armed forces to get £1.1 billion funds

Farnborough and Portsmouth set to benefit from Government defence pledge

In the announcement expected at Farnborough later today, the Prime Minister has set out new investment for defence projects in Farnborough and Portsmouth.

The statement sets out plans for establishing a UK Defence Solutions Centre in Farnborough to bring together industry, with support from Government, to develop the new defence technologies of the future.

Also outlined are plans for a £4 million UK Centre for Maritime Intelligent Systems based in Portsmouth. Government, industry and the Local Enterprise Partnership will bring together naval specialists to develop technology for use in autonomous unmanned boats, submarines or other vessels.

PM announces new intelligence gathering funding for Armed Forces at Farnborough International Air Show

In an announcement from the Prime Minister's office, an extra £800 million of investment is promised for Intelligence, Surveillance, Target Acquisition and Reconnaissance. The intentnion is to extend the range and flexibility of defence options, including that of our Special Forces.

The statements says the money will be used to respond to the threat of global terrorism and hostage taking, with an investment of £300 million in existing capabilities including a new E-Scan radar for Typhoon and the purchase of the Portsmouth-based Ice Patrol Ship HMS Protector.

David Cameron will provide more details at the Farnborough International Airshow. The Prime Minister will also set out action taken by the Defence Growth Partnership of industry and Government to boost the UK defence sector.

Having modern, technologically advanced and flexible Armed Forces to protect us and our interests is vital. Because of the difficult decisions we have taken to tackle the deficit we are able to make these vital investments in our defence capabilities. We are also taking action to sustain our thriving defence industry, as part of our long-term economic plan to back business, create jobs and secure a brighter future for hardworking people.”

– Prime Minister David Cameron
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