Following this autumn's outbreak of potato blight, supermarkets have joined forces to offer amateur potato growers 'free spuds for life' in return for a promise to stay off their allotments.
Announcing the scheme in London today, Lord Piper said the UK's Big 4 supermarkets have joined forces to offer a £5 per week potato voucher to every allotment owner who volunteers to forego growing potatoes and either stay at home or stick to brassicas and carrots.
Grow-your-own spud enthusiasts have taken the blame for causing this year's catastrophic blight, which has decimated the national potato crop and caused prices to soar.
Speaking on behalf of the UK Potato Council, Squadron Leader Luigi 'Skins' Corleone explained how it only takes a few inexperienced organic-crazed halfwits to bring a £350m industry down on its knees.
“Potato blight is a fungal disease of the leaves and roots,” Corleone revealed. “Infected plants must be sprayed with fungicide and buried in concrete deep below the earth's crust, or down with the fishes on the ocean floor - not dumped on top of a compost heap where the first gust of wind will spread the spores for miles.”
“These amateur market gardeners have cost us a small fortune," he said, taking out a handkerchief and wiping a tear from his cheek. "Potato growing is a tough and dangerous business. One that's far better left to us professionals. So it's in the nation's interest for us to make a generous accommodation with one of our magnificent offers that nobody can refuse.”
82 year old Mrs Enid Pomfroy, who farms a 30x5 metre allotment in Cricklewood North London and has an impressive 12' high compost heap, is believed to be the first to accept the new £5 voucher deal.
“The nice men from the supermarkets knocked on our back window just after midnight and told us that if we stuck to the 2 for 1 offers, we'd wake up tomorrow morning in our own bed. And with enough surplus potatoes by the end of the week to feed both our daughter's family in New Malden and an invalid sister-in-law in Carshalton,” she said.