George Osbourne has confirmed his intention to get Britain's assassins "up to world-class whacking standards" by offering tax breaks for the most creative hit-jobs, including for the victims' families.
'For too long we've put up with the vanilla hit - "found dead in the bath, probably committed suicide"' declared Mr Osbourne. 'All that does is generate more work for the police. But say a retired businessman has been irradiated by Plutonium , spontaneously combusted in mysterious circumstances, or mauled by a silent-but-deadly hamster - the economic benefit to the journalism, tourism and nuclear disarmament sectors is enormous. And now we will calculate that benefit and offset it against both income and inheritance tax'.
Hired killers gave a cautious welcome to the initiative. 'Back in the 80's my "poisonous umbrella shuffle" spawned two documentaries, a mini-series and a hollywood film, and I didn't see a penny from it - well, apart from the hit fee, obviously' declared a sudden-death consultant. ' I wish I'd just shot the bloke and avoided all those months of experimenting with Amazonian tree frogs. Still, we're a creative industry, and I'm glad the chancellor has recognised that. I must ask my accountant how to claim research and development allowance for that lethal banana skin'.
Victims' families, particularly amongst the oligarch community, gave a cautious welcome to the news that a colourful end could save millions of pounds in death duties. Critics of the scheme were quick to point out that the government could be opening up another tax loophole, with families of the recently-deceased attempting to make even the most mundane death look like murder in order to protect their wealth.
'If my grandfather *was* already dead when those piranha ate him, it was only because the shock of watching the assassin trying to inflate a portable swimming pool in his nursing home bedroom brought on a heart-attack' said an anonymous Russian expat. 'We know. We hired him'.