The government today announced a radical new plan to stabilise the troubled mortgage bank Northern Rock and instead spread the load from any panic in the financial system across all high-street banks.
"By letting the bank accounts details of half the population of the UK fall into unauthorised hands we hope that this will cause everyone to panic about their savings," said the chancellor Alistair Darling. "This will make queues of panicking savers outside Northern Rock seem normal."
The Chancellor was speaking after the announcement that CDs containing a copy of the entire child benefit database of Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs had been mislaid in the post.
"I would also like to make it clear to the Great British public that there is absolutely no evidence that this data has fallen in the hands of anyone who might use it to steal money from you," said the Chancellor of the Exchequer. "I haven’t got the CDs and neither has the Inland Revenue."
If the announcement proves successful, and panic-stricken savers trying to withdraw their money swamp the entire retail banking industry, the government plans to extend the initiative and reform other areas of the welfare state.
"As this panic dies down we plan to lose the details of all those collecting incapacity benefit," said Mr Darling. "Once the news of that gets out we will prosecute anyone queuing for hours in the cold, since they must clearly be fraudulent claimants."
The Chancellor brushed aside criticism of a proposal to lose the personal details of known paedophiles in the UK.
"It is worth exploring," he emphasised, "Panicking parents removing their children from school would certainly help with class sizes."
Concluding his statement in the House, Alistair Darling said that an investigation into HMRC’s procedures was underway.
"We are going to get to the bottom of the government’s procedural confusion between Risk Strategy and Basic Obligations (Legal)," he said. "It is clear that this New Labour government cannot tell its RS from its L- BO."
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