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Government to offer “hand relief” instead of “tax relief” on public sector pension schemes

In a radical new move, the Chancellor George Osborne has offered council workers and other public sector employees a creative new alternative to receiving generous tax breaks on their pension arrangements.  The new “Hand Relief for Tax Relief Scheme” will be proffered to union bosses this week.

‘The current system is unsustainable,’ said Treasury spokesman Jonty Flume.  ‘We think this is a viable option that the unions should seriously consider.  After all, who doesn’t like a nice hand job?’

If the proposal is accepted, HMRC are hoping to introduce an “opt out” scheme in the new year.  ‘We don’t want to force people into it,’ continued Mr Flume, ‘but we’re expecting it to become a standard arrangement. Hopefully, we can pull it off.’

In order to opt out of the plans, members of a pension scheme will need to send a written request to HMRC.  If the request is not accepted, workers will continue to be tossed-off in the staff toilets by a tax official armed with a jar of hand cream. Equivalent arrangements will be made for female employees.

Unison spokesperson Janet Scruff is making no promises. ‘Let’s just wait for the full details of the offer.  We’re always willing to negotiate on the right terms, but we naturally want the best deal for our members.  We’re going to try to hold out for an offer of an annual “oral top-up” option.’

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Ask Alan

Wickle’s top agony uncle comes to the aid of readers in a quandary


Dear Alan…

I was pleasuring myself to Emily Maitlis on Newsnight the other evening when they suddenly cut to footage of Education Secretary Michael Gove dribbling something about Ofsted. Unfortunately, I was past the point of no return and I can no longer look myself in the eye.  Do you have any tips on how to avoid something like this in the future?

Alan Says:

I had a similar infatuation with Moira Stuart back in the day.  I made a compilation VHS and killed a couple of hours while Pat was at Tai Chi.  I’m not up with modern technology but I’m sure you could do something similar on a computer or tablet or whatever. Good luck.


Dear Alan…

My husband’s illegal usury business was flagging last year and it was beginning to get him down.  To give him a bit of a boost I asked some family members and close friends if they would loan some money off him.  It didn’t half cheer him up, but they are struggling to keep up with the payments given the extraordinarily high interest rates he charges.  He’s already sent a friend from work a shotgun cartridge through the post and threatened to do my Auntie Val’s kneecaps with a crowbar.  What should I do?

Alan says:

I’ve heard that loan sharks will often take sexual favours as payment in kind.  You could suggest that your loved-ones try that for a bit and maybe stave off a few instalments while they raise some cash another way.  You better tell them to get it sorted pretty sharpish.  Your hubby sounds like a nasty bastard.


Dear Alan...

Have you got the time on you?

Alan says:

Yes mate, it’s just coming up to quarter to.


Dear Alan…

When me and my boyfriend were in bed last night, he said we should try and spice things up and suggested that I enact my favourite fantasy on him.  My favourite fantasy is “Game of Thrones” so I lopped off his head with a broadsword. Now the police are involved. What can I do?

Alan says:

I’ll forward you the number of a good solicitor I know.  He tends to specialise in “Dungeons & Dragons” related criminal matters, but I’m sure his expertise will suffice.


Dear Alan…

My wife started playing internet bingo a few months ago.  I’m worrying it might be becoming a problem.  She’s taking money out of our shared bank account without talking to me first and is becoming increasingly secretive.  What advice can you give?

Alan says:

It’s okay.  Unlike roulette and blackjack, bingo isn’t really gambling.  It’s just a group of friends having a bit of fun on-line whilst having a harmless flutter.  If she does start to spend more money than you can afford, simply advise her to substantially increase her stakes.  That way she’ll win back the money much quicker.


Dear Alan…

My brother says that trampoline is a kind of plastic covering for a woman of easy virtue.  Is he right?

Alan says…

No.  He’s thinking about Slutothene wrapping.


Stage version of “Goodfellas” to feature all child cast

In homage to the classic Alan Parker musical “Bugsy Malone”, local theatre group W-WADS (West Wickle Amateur Dramatics Society) has announced that their spring production will be a stage version of gangster epic “Goodfellas”, featuring exclusively child actors.

‘It’s going to be quite a challenge,’ says producer Colin Henry VIII. ‘They always say never to work with children or animals. Well I’m not working with both, but having an entire cast of kids is going to be just as difficult.’

12 year old Tyler Bleau plays hit–man Tommy De Vito, a character portrayed by Joe Pesci in the Martin Scorsese directed classic. ‘One of the hardest scenes is when I get whacked by Vinnie and Tuddy before I am supposed to be getting made,’ says Tyler.  ‘I have to fall forward on to the floor without putting my hands out, on account of I get shot in the back of the head with a .45.  It’s quite difficult to do.  The director’s always busting my balls over that one.   What?  You think you can do it better, ya f*ckin’ stutterin’ f*ck you?’

‘I think I’ll be alright if I can get all my lines learnt,’ says 11 year old Noah Crates who plays toupee salesman, and mafia hanger-on, Morrie Kessler.  ‘People have asked if it’s difficult for me as an English schoolboy to identify with a middle aged  Jewish mob associate from 1970s Brooklyn, but I had a speaking role in “Aladdin” last year and I’ve never  experienced medieval Turkestan either,’ he explained.  ‘I mean, what do I look like? A goddamn schmuck on wheels?’

Set designer Michelle Tuke is responsible for mocking-up the numerous gangster hang-outs featured in the play: ‘Recreating the “Copacabana” from that period was an amazing experience.  Obviously it was made all the more difficult by the fact we had to make all the tables and chairs a suitable size for the kids.’

Star of the show Craig Meeks plays real life supergrass Henry Hill, whose life story the film was based on. ‘It was great getting the lead,’ he says.  ‘The biggest role I’ve had so far was as a spider in “Noah’s Ark” for the school play.  Leigh Jones is playing Spider in this one though.  He isn’t an actual spider though, he’s a person who’s called Spider who gets shot in the foot by Tommy after he gets the drink order wrong.  And then gets shot again, but dead this time, when he tells Tommy to go f*ck himself.’

Producer Colin is expecting the play to be a big success.  ‘Bugsey Malone was a big hit so I don’t know why we haven’t seen all child casts more often.

‘I think I’m going to stick with Scorsese for the next production as well and do an all child version of “Taxi Driver”.  Although I’m not sure what to do about the Jodie Foster part because she was a kid herself. So will she have to be played by a baby? I’m not sure.  I’ll have to have a think about that one.’


Woman says she won’t be spending redundancy money opening cupcake shop

nah…you’re alright.

Former council employee Irene Mounts, 55, has announced this week that she won’t be spending any of her £40,000 redundancy payout on opening a cupcake shop on Neilby high street.

The shop won’t be called ‘Irene’s Fun Fancies’ or ‘Cup Cakes4U’, and they will not be offering cake decorating classes for all the family on Saturday mornings.  ‘I’ve never really dreamed about owning my own business,’ said the indifferent mother of four. ‘I can’t be bothered with all the faff.  I like making the odd batch of fairy cakes with the littluns but it’s just a hobby really.  I mean, I like a round of golf on a Sunday but I’m not about to enter the British Open am I?  We’ll probably just pay of the rest off the mortgage and I’ll get a few shifts in Tesco’s to tide us over. We might treat ourselves to a fortnight in Majorca if there’s enough left over.’

As a result of Irene’s decision, the shop won’t have to close in eighteen months’ time; and neither Irene nor her husband Bob will have to declare themselves bankrupt or sell their family home and move into a static caravan in North Wales.


Talks to end sea-shell collectors strike resume this week

Pay me!

Wickle council is to broker negotiations this week in a bid to end the pay dispute between sea-shell collectors’ unions and the novelty knick-knack industry, amid reports of picket line violence.

Hundreds of collectors walked out 38 days ago, resulting in fears that shops may run out of model sea-shell animals with googly eyes. The Sea-Shell Collectors union NSSCG (National Sea-Shell Collectors’ Guild) boss Terry Javellin will be representing workers at the meeting set take place this Thursday. ‘All my members want is a fair day’s pay for a fair day’s work,’ said Mr Javellin.  ‘When compared to workers in comparable jobs, such as toffee apple dunking, our wages have fallen 3% in real terms over the last five years. You can’t support a family on what my lads are taking home.’

Wickle mayor Len Beggs will be chairing the negotiations.  ‘Listen, nobody wants there to be a shortage of sea-shell encrusted picture frames,’ commented the Mayor. ‘But the unions have to be realistic.  Central and local government subsidised the industry to the tune of £20,000,000 last year.  It’s just not a sustainable position.’

All parties say they are hoping to avoid a repeat of the ugly scenes at the start of the walkout that saw two Police officers slashed with razor clam shells.  ‘Nobody wants violence,’ concluded Mr Javellin.  ‘However, if the fat cats of “Big Craft” think we’re going to roll-over like the miners did, they’ve got another thing coming.’





Statue of famous hangman unveiled

Hangmans Noose

Crowds flocked to Folylake sea front on Sunday to see Liverpool comedian Ken Dodd unveil the North West’s latest tourist attraction and photo opportunity: a statue of one of Wickle’s most famous sons, the hangman Jim ‘Trapdoor’ Travers.

The bronze sculpture depicts the executioner inspecting the knot on his favourite noose “Ol’ Chokey”. Jim’s ‘other job’ was as a milkman; and to reflect this there is a crate of milk bottles at his feet, ready to be delivered to his loyal customers.

Various plaques at the base of the statue feature many of the catchphrases he would say to his long serving apprentice Malcolm Short,  such as: ‘We’ll need to take a couple of feet off the rope for this one Malc; he’s a biggun,’ and ‘I call dibs on his shoes.’  The plaques also display the names and dates of execution of his most infamous ‘customers’, like killer postman Bert Teasdale, and the female Nazi war criminal Adel ‘The Bitch of Belsen’ Kohl.

Before the trapdoor utilising ‘long drop’ technique became ubiquitous, Jim was well known for innovative ways practicing the ‘short drop’ method.  One of his favourites would be to stand the prisoner at the top of a step ladder, and then deliver the coup de grace by driving his electric milk float into it.  This practice proved controversial in some quarters though, as he would often begin his approach from over quarter of a mile away, whistling ‘Ride of the Valkyries’ as he went.

Now in his eighties himself, Jim’s would-be successor Malcolm Short fondly recalls his time on the job with Britain’s most prolific hangman.  ‘Jim was always game for a laugh,’ he told reporters.  ‘He was a keen practical joker and had a fantastic sense of humour.  It’s a side of him the public rarely saw.

‘One time, Jim replaced the rope with a noose he’d made out of about two thousand elastic bands. It took him weeks to plat them all together.  No soon as the prisoner went through the floor, ‘BOING!’ he came straight back up again.  He was going up and down like that for ages.  Jim finished him of by whacking him on the head with a golf club as he came up through the hole in the end.  It was starting to get a bit tedious after half an hour to be honest, but we fell about laughing there for a while.  It was lucky we had the clubs with us.  We’d planned on going  for a quick nine holes after the job.’

The statue marks the 35th anniversary of Jim Travers’ death, and will ensure that Britain’s most famous hangman is remembered for many decades to come.

English: A Dairy Crest ex-Unigate Wales & Edwa...

. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)