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In the papers today - 8th July 2008

The government's ecotowns project looked in trouble last night as developers withdrew from one of its 15 shortlisted schemes...

....The consortium behind plans for a 5,000-home ecotown called Curburough, near Lichfield in Staffordshire, quit yesterday less than a fortnight after a Lincolnshire council withdrew its bid for one at Manby - The Guardian

Britain will continue to expand the use of biofuels in petrol and diesel for transport, despite an independent review that found that the fuels can drive up food prices and do little to combat global warming. Ruth Kelly, the transport minister, said yesterday that Britain needed to press ahead with biofuels as the technology could still prove beneficial, but their introduction would be slowed down - The Guardian

Britain is now at "serious risk" of full scale recession, the British Chamber of Commerce will warn today, as a series of new indicators suggest that the economy is now slowing much more quickly than had previously been thought. In particular, BCC will say that the services sector is experiencing a sharp downturn, publishing figures that show more firms saw a fall in the number of orders during the second quarter than a rise, the first time the indicator has turned negative since 1990 - The Independent

One of the City's leading banks has warned that it could take 20 years for the housing market to recover. The warning from Merrill Lynch is one of the gloomiest predictions on the economy to date - The Daily Telegraph

Chancellor Alistair Darling is facing a £7.5 billion black hole in his budget next year as a result of the economic downturn, an analysis of Treasury figures for The Independent has found.The black hole means that Darling will either have to raise tax, cut spending or borrow more - The Independent

Hopes that the manufacturer sector would support the economy through its toughest period in two decades have been dashed by new figures showing industry is probably already in recession. The British Chambers of Commerce warned that activity in the manufacturing sector has slumped sharply, and that the business sector in now heading for full-scale contraction - The Daily Telegraph

Housebuilders suffered another bad day on the stock market with their shares sliding by up to 14% as analysts from Merrill Lynch and Royal Bank of Scotland downgraded the sector - The Daily Telegraph

Bradford & Bingley shares hit a new all-time low and plunged further below the bank's rights issue price as fears increased about its prospects. The stock dropped 16 per cent to close at 42p yesterday and have lost one third of their value in two trading days. The fast deteriorating housing market will push B&B to a loss in 2010 - The Independent

Deaths and serious injuries on busy roads outside towns could be cut by a third if money were spent on simple improvements, the Campaign for Safe Road Design, a new consortium of Britain's motoring organisations, road safety and design groups, will say today. The group believes that better road design could save 30 lives and casualties a day and £6bn a year - The Times

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