The future of the entire UK economy rests on the shoulders of the Lib Dem leader and Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg, according to leaked papers from the Treasury.
The documents show that George Osborne predicated his projections for the future on Nick Clegg continuing to smoke and being the last smoker left in the country by 2015.
"These are incredible claims." Dennis Lambert, an analyst at city economists Wallace Faulkner Barnes. "They show that the rise in excise duty on the average pack of 20 cigarettes will means more smokers will give up than ever before over the next 3 years, and that only those with enough money to afford to continue their habit will be left to fund a large part of the country's tax intake."
A pack of 20 currently costs an average of £6.50 after the inflation plus 2% rise in the budget and at those costs, many smokers are predicted to give up by the end of this year.
If that happens, the Treasury will miss out on billions in tax income.
"Smokers in the UK currently fund the Government to the tune of £10.5bn, which in these times of financial restraint, has already been accounted for and spent in current year projections." Mr Lambert says. "Therefore, if the numbers of smokers drop, then the Treasury will be forced to increase the tax on on tobacco which the die-hards will be asked to pay."
"And because those costs will continue to rise exponentially, it'll be the likes of Nick Clegg will be among the last smokers left in the country and will end up paying for most of the spending the Government is committed to."
In a statement, the Treasury confirmed the existence of the documents and said the figures were 'broadly accurate'.
But an un-named source in Whitehall said that the Government had badly miscalculated the situation.
"We should be encouraging more people to smoke, which would not only increase the tax take for the Treasury, but also kill off more people, leading to increased employment opportunities and a boom in the funeral sector. As for Nick Clegg being the last smoker left in the country, he'd need to dramatically increase his cigarette output to make up the shortfall. He's a social smoker now and would have to end up smoking at least 1500 fags a day to make any contribution worthwhile. And let's face it, sacrificing his health for the sake of the nation, would be the best thing he could do."