Councils the length and breadth of the country are steeling themselves for soaring absence levels as a direct result of savage cuts in expenditure.
In the wake of the Coalition Government's instructions to town halls to reduce spending in all aspects of council life, one of the first budgets to be slashed has been stationery and office supplies.
Local government staff have had to put up with cheaper pens, thinner photocopying paper and and even thinner thinner.
Even worse has been the disappearance of the formerly ubiquitous letter opener.
Not only has this unpopular measure substantially increased the length of time it takes to open letters, but it has also created a major spike in office workers absence levels.
Paper cuts are now officially the most common cause of staff absence and many offices are having to call in temporary workers to deal with the backlog of unprocessed correspondence.
The good news is that Boots the Chemists and other High Street pharmacies are reporting a 200% increase in sales of band aids and elastoplast.