In a memorandum sent to all Government departments, the Chancellor has urged 'a long hard look' to determine precisely what cuts will need to be made, and just how completely skint the country is, amidst fears that the previous Government were employing the little-known ecomonic theory of 'fantasy accounting' to report and calculate the UK's economy.
In the memo, exclusively obtained by The Diary, Mr Osborne says, "we must do all we can to find any money that might be left. Check all drawers and filing cabinets, and pull out the cushions from sofas in Departmental break-out areas. Don't forget to check under the floor-mats of Ministerial cars. There's GOT to be some cash, somewhere. Except in the Treasury, of course."
Rumours that all former Ministers are to be recalled to their offices, held upside down and shaken until change falls from their pockets remain unconfirmed.
The Chancellor is also to introduce a new Office of Budget Regeneration, which will be tasked with actually getting hold of what little cash is left in the UK and using it to pay down the National Debt. While full plans for cost-cutting have not yet been published, initial suggestions include the sale of all Ministerial vehicles to webuyanycar.com, and the creation of a 'Budget Cleanup Team' who will wash windscreens at Westminster traffic lights for spare change from drivers.
Following reports in The Times that the outgoing Labour Government pursued a 'scorched earth' policy leaving billions of previously hidden debts, making the UK's fiscal situation even worse than previously believed, the new OBR is also to research a new 'stocks based' approach to Budget regeneration, whereby former Labour Ministers will be placed in pillories around the country and members of the public invited to throw eggs and rotten fruit at the profligate scumbags. Conservative estimates put the revenue from this potential stream at close to £10bn - a figure that could well be doubled if the bankrupted Electorate were permitted to throw half-bricks instead.