David Cameron vows to stride towards 'Greater Britain' in New Year message


David Cameron has pledged to make 2016 a "game changer" for the country by bringing about radical social reforms that would make sure no one was left on the "outside looking in".

In his New Year message to the country, the Prime Minister, who has already hinted that he could hold the referendum on Britain's future in Europe this year, also admitted that the continued negotiations would be "difficult" but said it was up to voters to decide whether they wanted to stay in.

The premier said his top priorities for the next 12 months were to boost home ownership, tackle poverty, improve social mobility and crackdown on extremism.

Taking on the problems would leave Britain a richer, stronger, more secure and unified nation, he insisted.

Mr Cameron appeared to take a swipe at his Labour opposite number, Jeremy Corbyn, insisting that while "others are on protest march, we remain on the long walk to a Greater Britain".

The Prime Minister said Britain begins the year with "renewed strength", striking a markedly more optimistic tone than in his missive last year when he warned the country it faced ''chaos'' if there was a change in the economic course.

And, unlike thousands of people across the country today, he shunned the New Year tradition of making resolutions, promising instead to "continue delivering" the Conservative Party's manifesto commitments.

Mr Cameron said: "We're going to spend this year delivering the education, training, jobs, tax cuts, healthcare and housing people need.

"But we're also going to make sure no one should be on the outside looking in at all these things - that everyone is a part of Britain's rise. In doing so, we can make 2016 a game changer for our country.

"There are many people who will tell you how deeply they care about these issues. They will shout into megaphones, wave banners and sign petitions.

"But we're the ones who are able to make the arguments and take the difficult decisions in order to defeat these social scourges and deliver real security. So while others are on protest march, we remain on the long walk to a Greater Britain. We won't get there overnight. But during 2016, we will make some of our most significant strides yet."

Mr Cameron hopes to secure a package of reforms in the European Union when he meets fellow leaders in February.

He said: "We're fighting hard to fix the aspects of our EU membership that cause so much frustration in Britain - so we get a better deal for our country and secure our future.

"It is a difficult negotiation with 27 other countries. But throughout we are driven by one consideration: what is best for Britain's economic and national security. In the end, you will decide whether we are stronger and better off with our European neighbours as part of the European Union, or on our own."

Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron used his message to argue "Britain deserves better" as he criticised the Tories and Labour for being divided parties.

Mr Farron insisted his party, which was all but wiped out in Westminster at the general election, would enter 2016 with a "a new sense of purpose, a new drive and a sense of ambition".

He criticised government cuts to Universal Credit and policing and said more should be done to support refugees fleeing Syria.

Mr Farron said: "Could there be a more perfect image of the need to challenge the way the Tories are running Britain than seeing David Cameron happily enjoying a Christmas Party with Rupert Murdoch?

"Out of coalition, the Tories are arrogant, deceitful and out of touch.

"Britain deserves better."