The Finance Minister today launched an attack on the number of sick days civil servants took, “betraying their own colleagues.”

A junior Minister of the coalition had this to add: “In these times of economic austerity they’re setting themselves up for a hiding. We have a massive deficit to pay back to the bankers who lost it, and it’s a proportional response for the Government to pull billions out of the public sector for such audacious fecklessness.

Sickness costs the taxpayer almost 23 million pounds. Cosseted public sector workers have had it easy for years, but with this strong statement from the Coalition, people will think twice about getting the flu or cancer.”

“Unacceptable in a time of austerity,” said Sammy Wilson, hitting out at those who take days off when they are healthy.

Retired Arthur Woodcock has taken a personal interest on this issue in his local Blackburn and Darwen Council, and has taken it upon himself to peer into the houses of those who take days off to ascertain whether they are really sick.

“It’s my duty as a taxpayer,” he said. “I’ve seen all sorts of things; one incident involved a number of people snorting powders off the dining room table. I can’t say for certain what happened in the end that day but a chicken started flying round the room and then the curtains shut. I can only imagine what was going on.”

Figures show the Department of Social Development had the worst record in the civil service, taking 14 sick days a year. But the sector as a whole is failing to meet its targets on absence levels.

“What we are aiming for,” said a Coalition spokesperson “Is a public sector which gives taxpayers value for money. We can learn a lot from the market in this regard: Civil servants who are ill more than others are of less value to the taxpayer than those who are not, and should thus be seen as of less value to society as a whole, whatever that means. These are tough times.”

Snivelling Brain Campfield, general secretary of the Civil Service Union Nipsa, insisted that while there would always be a “small minority” who abuse the system, he excused the sick figures on the count that many people have menial jobs.

“Where people have more autonomy and more control over decision making and their work environment, they are less likely to be out sick.”

The CBI, Britain’s foremost business lobby, retorted in a press statement: “British business and the health of the economy rely on the immiseration and disenfranchisement of all but a lucky few of British workers.

In tough fiscal times as these are, this aspect of the nature of work can only be more important to the health of the economy.

Many in the private sector endure far worse conditions than this, without the recourse to hide behind a Trade Union and have them fight their battles for them. And what’s more, they suffer the indignity of civil servants taking money from the public purse and spending absolutely none of it in their local economies.

It’s tantamount to taking money out of your wallet right in front of you, burning it, and dancing round laughing hysterically. To add insult to injury, they’re not even perfectly healthy all of the time.”

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