In an effort to cut budgets by a quarter, central government has asked local governments to cut inessential jobs from their payroll.
The call comes after Bedlington Council were discovered to be employing cheerleaders to go around local events and dance. Further examination has shown a list of jobs that central government believe will save nearly half a billion including jobs such as official cartoonist, telephone sanitation and health and safety officers.
"I do not see the need for a person dedicated solely to maintaining council keyboards," said Brenda Bender, head of the Cuts Committee. "Surely this job can be absorbed into general IT?"
Also in the firing line are the people who stand and watch people repairing roads and the Stop-Go board people will be replaced with automatic temporary lights. Twenty people across the country will lose their job of maintaining the cleanliness of light-bulbs, whilst the horticulturist's wheelbarrow assistant in Harrow is looking nervously over his shoulder. The Lottery Syndicate managers that most councils employ are definitely on their way out, as are the people who translate leaflets into Catalan, Aborigine and Cherokee.
"We are a little afraid," said June August, spokesperson for UNITE, "that the remaining staff will have broken keyboards, work in the dark and spend more time off with bad backs having pushed their own wheelbarrows. In addition, how will Cherokee speakers read the leaflets? And when everybody who can be has been removed, will Brenda Bender remove herself as no longer required?"
Alan Johnson, the Shadow Home Secretary, sees the job cuts as a false economy. "Once these people have been removed from their posts, where will they go? In general, they are unemployable as anything else, so they will be on social security, which can cost more than paying them to do their job! In addition, while they are working, they are contributing tax, national insurance, and bolstering local economies by buying flat screen TVs."
Brenda Bender dismisses all the concerns: "It's all bluster and wiffle waffle. We won't be paying them social security as we have sacked all the DHS staff."