Regeneration in the newspapers: Ministers prepare 40% budget cuts

News that ministers have been told to prepare to slash their budgets by 40 per cent and reports that coalition government is considering plans to distribute food vouchers features in today's newspaper round-up.

Frontline public services are going to be cut as the axe falls on Whitehall budgets, cabinet office minister Francis Maude has said, the Independent reports. "We're not going to be able to eradicate this huge deficit that Labour has left us without there being some impact on frontline services," Maude said. The news comes as the Treasury reportedly ordered cabinet ministers to brace themselves for 40 per cent cuts, not the 25 per cent off most department budgets as outlined in the emergency Budget.

The coalition government is considering plans to distribute food vouchers to people on the dole as part of a drive to empower charities to supplement the support provided by the welfare state, the Guardian reports.

Martin Bright, who spent three years unemployed in the 1980s, writes in the Observer of his own experience of that time and how it led him to pioneer the New Deal of the Mind project, which offers a creative alternative to lack of work.

The mishandling of a Welsh rail project has led the UK Government to rethink the way benefits of proposed transport investments are predicted, the Western Mail reports. Norman Baker, Westminster’s new Liberal Democrat transport minister, said assessments of the Ebbw Vale-Cardiff project, and a similar one in Scotland, were "completely wrong". The Ebbw Vale-Cardiff rail service underwent years of preliminary studies but its launch in February 2008 showed how inaccurate the demand forecasts were, the paper reports.

Middlesbrough is to make a bid for city status. Mayor Ray Mallon tells the Evening Gazette: "I want the Tees Valley area to punch above its weight and be a force to be reckoned with." Mallon also wants to see Enterprise Zones established on Teesside to help provide a new impetus for manufacturing businesses to be established and to expand in the area.

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