The British Government has downgraded the official list of wedding anniversary gifts, as part of a package of incentives for married couples.
As part of the 'qualitative easing', paper, cotton and leather make way for dust, scabs and soup. Fourth wedding anniversaries are now sponsored by Chapstick, and wood is replaced with conkers. Smut, phlegm, cheese and Johnson's Ear Buds mark the next four milestones.
Several gifts have been delayed, to reflect changes in value since the official list was first drafted. 45th Wedding anniversaries can now be celebrated with a length of copper pipe, and gold isn't a recognised gift until a theoretical 120th anniversary. The new 60th 'Tank of Diesel' anniversary has been criticised as 'far too lavish' by some critics, although Ministers pointed out that the gift could be used to drive to the Swiss Dignitas clinics if things were really tight.
Companies have been encouraged to endorse key '5-year' anniversaries. Ruby weddings were bought out by The Taj Mahal Balti in Leeds, and every other anniversary in some parts of the system are now recognised with a latté from Starbucks. Many of the major dates were snapped up by Chinese investors: critics say it is no coincidence that China's stockpiling of natural resources coincides with the move. But some eyebrows were raised when the revised gifts were announced.
"Lanthanum, cadmium and uranium aren't the most appropriate ways to celebrate a happy marriage, and there are important safety issues to be considered when wrapping natural gas", complained Nigel Vows, a shopping steward for HUMAF, the Holy Union of Man and Wife. "We're advising our members to just send a card."
If the changes are successful, the Government may expand the gift aid scheme to include other key events. There are rumours that Father's Day will be downgraded to the same status as Mother's Day, ending the tradition of Top Gear soft rock CDs, and encouraging more loo rolls covered with stickers, glitter and wool.
Ministers are confident that the scheme will stabilise trade in Guilts, without breaking any in-laws. Osborne was in confident mood: "We're sure we can reform the 'present' system, without contravening the Human Rites Act."
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