Alonzo S. Whitebeard, the new Finance Minister in The Badgertown Town Council, has unveiled his plan for getting the Badgertown finances sorted out.
He has put Noddy Ninety, the perpetual schoolboy, in charge of education as well as transport - he does love his steanm trains. Noddy has calculated that he can save 20% on the schools budget by banning soggy cabbage from school lunches. He is alsp pressing ahead with his plans for more steam trains - he says that this will open up many jobs for redundant civil servants as stokers.
The police budget has been severely cut - "This will have a devastating affect on our waistline" cried one badger. However, Whitebeard offered a new definition of waistlines saying that it won't affect the visibility of the police. "Cushions will be supplied to every copper on the beat for them to stuff up their jackets!" he argued.
Benefits are also badly hit. Inhabitants of Badgertown will not be allowed to retire until they are absolutely exhausted. Single badgers will no longer receive housing benefit - they must either get married or take in a family of dwarfs. Social homes for life will also end for all badgers - they must all dig new burrows every year. Ministers believe that 150,000 new affordable burrows can be built in Badgertown, in this manner, between 2011 and 2015.
The arts are a big loser in today's spending review, facing a cut of 30%, which will be seen as devastating to Badgertown's cultural landscape, however Whitebeard has promised every family a box of paints and a lump of modelling clay.
"We expect all the inhabitants of Badgertown to display their work and open up their homes to the public!" declared Whitebeard "thus creating a huge number of new galleries!"
Worst hit, sadly, is my old friend the King of the Badgers. His budget has been cut by 50%, forcing him to open up his palace to paying guests. "I had that Hotel Inspector, off the telly, round and she said my palace was in such a parlous state that she doubted how I could turn it round at all !" he moaned to me.
Not much chance of my many loans to him being repaid in the near future, I fear.