St ‘Santa’ Nicholas, who trades as Father Christmas Plc, is planning to close his North Pole operation and cull four reindeer, blaming poor economic conditions and the impact of the eurozone crisis. The job losses were announced just hours before Chancellor George Osborne presented the Government's Autumn Statement to Parliament.
The company announced that over 350 elves, fairies and other helpers are to go. The Sprite union, representing mystical creatures, said the final figure might be closer to 500 once snowmen and other temporary staff were accounted for.
Santa said: “I think it’s safe to say there will be no presents for little Georgie Osborne this year as he has been a very naughty boy indeed. It’s a shame really as I had him down for a calculator and an abacus, two things he needs quite badly. I’m sure he couldn’t give a rat’s chuff though, as he’s a millionaire and can just go out and buy most of Hamleys.”
Elf Secretary Andrew Lansley said: “We have tried persuading Father Christmas to put his elves onto shorter hours, but this is proving impossible as most of them are only 3ft tall as it is.”
Animal welfare groups are also urging Santa to think again about having his magical reindeer put to sleep.
Rona Doughty of charity Sleigh Stoppers said: “We are firmly opposed to these cuts. The sled is designed to be pulled by nine reindeer, not five. So aside from the welfare issues we are looking at slower deliveries and an overall drop in customer service.”
Santa responded to his critics saying, “It is true that some presents may not be arrive till mid-January, but we are seeking ways to address this. For instance, we have been trialling putting wee foam antlers onto cats.”
He added: “We’re only killing the ones nobody remembers anyway – Comet, Cupid, Prancer and Dancer – seriously, after Rudolph, who cares?”
Buddy, a worker at the North Pole, said: “Well, obviously we’re devastated. The first any of us knew about it was when Santa appeared and said, sorry lads you’re getting the sack. Nothing unusual in that, he’s quite fat and doesn’t like exerting himself, but then it dawned on us - we were getting the old heave-ho, ho, ho."
When asked how the elves had reacted to the news, Buddy said: “I think it’s safe to say he's off the Christmas card list. We have worked very hard for many years for little more than a bag of sweets, and now we won't even get our final sugary penguin.”
In his Autumn Statement the Chancellor promised a new Christmas programme for struggling parents, which is set to include ‘working, prison or dying and thereby reducing the surplus population.”
Mr Osborne added, “humbug.”