The prime minister has encouraged communities to return to the Guy Fawkes Day tradition of lighting a huge fire, but topping it with a benefit claimant instead.
“One of the biggest problems faced by benefit claimants is being ostracised by the community they live in,” said a treasury spokesman.
“We want to bring them back into the heart of the community by burning them alive on top of a good old-fashioned British bonfire.”
He denied that this was an attempt to cheaply cut the benefits bill.
“No, this is purely to try and bring our communities back together. Although, if the threat of being burnt alive in front of all their neighbours incentivises a few people back to work, then that’s no bad thing.”
The move has been welcomed by people who enjoy burning things.
“Yeah, I think it’s a great idea,” said Simon Williams of Bracknell.
“I mean, there’s this bloke down my road who’s never done a day’s work, it just sits about watching telly. Diabolical. We should burn him.
“And his fake leg too.”
However, others were less keen.
“I’m not sure,” said Erica Paul of Brighton.
“I mean, is this just going to send out the wrong message? You know, it’s alright to spend your life lolling about on benefits eating cheese as long as you get burnt alive once a year.”
Unfortunately for the Chancellor, his plans may be scuppered by Health and Safety concerns.
“We discourage Guy Fawkes Bonfires, it’s too easy for them to get out of control,” said a health and safety campaigner.
“After all, we don’t want anyone getting burnt, do we?”