Newspaper headlines: Budget cuts, Top Gear 'outrage', Germany elections and Crufts winner

Forecasts of further spending cuts of £4bn in the Budget and "outrage" at a Top Gear stunt near the Cenotaph make front-page headlines.

The Financial Times says Chancellor George Osborne has said the UK economy was £18bn smaller than originally thought, because of lower than expected earnings and inflation.

"The chancellor is determined to stick to his target of running a budget surplus by 2020, but Tory MPs are mobilising against some big revenue raisers, including a possible end to the freeze on fuel duty," says the FT.

"Mr Osborne will instead look to raise billions of pounds through less controversial routes, for example closing down tax loopholes used by multinationals, which enjoy generous tax relief on debt raised in the UK."

The Times says the additional savings are needed to keep Mr Osborne's deficit reduction strategy on track in the face of weaker than expected economic growth.

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Media captionMartin Bentham, of the London Evening Standard, and broadcaster Lynn Faulds Wood join the BBC News Channel to review Monday's front pages.

The paper continues: "Expert predictions for revenue-raising measures include a hike in the tax on insurance premiums, which would hit millions of families insuring everything from their car to their house.

"An increase in so-called sin taxes, including an extra 16p on a pack of cigarettes, has also been mooted."

The Guardian says Mr Osborne hinted there could still be giveaways in his Budget, including raising the tax personal allowance.

"But the chancellor fuelled speculation that some nasty shocks were in store for his eighth Budget when he said there was a need to 'act now to make sure we don't pay later'," it adds.

Meanwhile, the Telegraph predicts the chancellor will announce that thousands of homes will be built around towns across the country after the government "rowed back" on plans to build a new generation of garden cities.

"The new measure to solve the country's housing crisis came after the government was criticised for plans - announced during the last Parliament - to build a series of garden cities, based on the models of Letchworth and Milton Keynes," says the Telegraph.


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Car trouble

Even without Jeremy Clarkson, it has not taken Top Gear long to rev up a storm.

The TV motoring show is widely berated in the press for filming a Mustang performing stunts near the Cenotaph in central London.

The Sun splashes it on its front page, saying the programme was accused of disrespecting the war dead.

The paper says George Osborne also "blasted" presenter Matt LeBlanc for disturbing his Budget preparations "as he skidded through Westminster for the revamped BBC show".

"Top Gear's Cenotaph wheel-spins cause outrage," is the headline on the front of the Telegraph.

The paper quotes Col Richard Kemp, a former commander of British forces in Afghanistan, as saying: "It is is gravely disrespectful.

Image copyright PA
Image caption Top Gear presenter Matt LeBlanc drove into trouble

"It beggars belief that they were ever allowed to film here. This is a sacred tribute to millions of people who have done far more for their country than Chris Evans and Matt LeBlanc ever will."

The Times says Mr Osborne "chastised" the programme makers for distracting him from writing the Budget and jokingly told Top Gear presenter Chris Evans to "keep it down, please" in a tweet.

"With just days to go before the Budget," says the Mail, "George Osborne was keen to concentrate on fine-tuning his Commons speech.

"But as he tried to turn his attention to some very taxing matters at Number 11 yesterday, events outside Downing Street were driving the chancellor to distraction."

A Top Gear spokesman has said the filming took place "a respectful distance" away from the Cenotaph and it was all agreed with the council in advance.


'Crushing message'

Regional elections in Germany do not normally grab much attention in the press, but on this occasion they are given greater prominence because of the rise of the anti-migrant Alternative for Germany (AfD) party.

The Times says AfD "upended the political order" by attracting greater support than expected with demands to close Germany's borders.

The right-wing party was projected to take 66 of the 347 seats available, more than doubling those it holds in other German states, it adds.

The paper declares: "The win marks a devastating blow for Mrs Merkel, who is also struggling to sell her plans to share asylum seekers around the European Union to other sceptical governments before a crunch summit in Brussels this week.

"Results from the state elections are piling pressure on her to slow the number of migrants entering Germany.

"They also mark the first time that a right-wing populist party has attracted widespread support in modern Germany."

Image copyright AFP
Image caption The Alternative for Germany party was celebrating election progress

Voters have sent German Chancellor Angela Merkel a "tough message", says the Telegraph.

"Angela Merkel's bid to seal an EU deal with Turkey to solve the refugee crisis was undermined last night as voters gave their verdict on her 'open-door' policy," it says.

"The German chancellor was sent a crushing message at the ballot box in yesterday's regional elections after her Christian Democrat party was defeated in two states."

It adds: "The far-right Alternative for Germany party, which campaigned almost exclusively on an anti-migrant platform and called for the country to close its borders, came second in one state with 23% of the vote, emerging as a force to be reckoned with in German politics."

The Guardian says AfD "shook up Germany's political landscape with dramatic gains".

The Financial Times remarks: "The anti-immigration Alternative fuer Deutschland party looked set to beat forecasts in all regions voting yesterday and score the biggest electoral success for the populist right since the rebirth of German democracy after the Second World War."


Top dog

A rather bemused-looking West Highland terrier called Geordie Girl looks out from the front page of the Times - but there is no hiding the delight of her owner after the dog won Best In Show at Crufts.

Geordie Girl, owned by Marie Burns from County Durham, is the first westie to win the top prize for 26 years.

Inside, the paper reports that the hearts of the crowd were stolen by four dogs who had saved the lives of their owners.

Image copyright AFP
Image caption Geordie Girl the dog wonders what the fuss is all about

Scooby, a Labrador, had twice saved his teenage owner from falling into a diabetic coma that could have killed her.

Azerley, an autism assistance dog, had stopped his seven-year-old human from biting his hands in frustration.

Boo, a lurcher, detected her owner's cancer, allowing early treatment, and Teddy Bear was credited with preventing his owner from taking her own life.


'Truly magical'

Finally, sports presenter Gary Lineker writes eloquently on the front of the Guardian ahead of table-topping Leicester City's Premier League match against Newcastle United on Monday night.

Languishing at the bottom of the table and seemingly doomed this time last season, Lineker says what has happened since then is "beyond remarkable".

"Something extraordinary is happening in the world of football," he states without hyperbole. "Something that defies logic. Something truly magical. Something that makes me well up with emotion, because this something is happening to my team.

Image caption Gary Lineker is a lifelong Leicester City fan

"It is the team I have supported since I was the size of a multipack of crisps. I watched Leicester City lose in the 1969 FA Cup final with my dad and grandad when I was eight and cried all the way home.

"I have seen them get promoted and relegated. I played for them for eight years. I even got a group of like-minded fans and friends to stump up a few quid to salvage the club when they went into liquidation.

"But nothing compares to this. Things like this just do not happen to clubs like mine. What we are witnessing is, should Leicester go on to win the title, quite possibly the most unlikely triumph in the history of team sport."