Chancellor Phillip Hammond has blamed sluggish economic growth figures on the dead.

“Our research over the last two quarters has proved conclusively that the dead are having no positive impact on productivity growth and it is largely this that is undermining the government’s economic policy,” he whined. “Without the dead, and I would remind you that many thousands of them died under Labour governments, the UK would be booming”

The chancellor was outlining his plans to reinvigorate the economy. “The measures we favour include children chimney sweeps and using the disabled as doorstops. Also, since the moderates are so anti fox hunting, we will be introducing hunting the homeless instead. These were policies passed at the last Conservative Party conference and I’m determined to see them implemented.”

“We’re building a vibrant, 21st century, post Brexit economy. For example, our alliance with the DUP has added another layer of sophistication; we’re going to use Republicans in Northern Ireland as unpaid Uber rickshaw drivers in a groundbreaking public-private partnership. Care homes are going to be relocated to the countryside, where the elderly will be free to harvest crops and work in the chicken chlorination plants. However, it isn’t just the dead and the elderly dragging us down; many infants sit on their backside all day. It’s just not good enough.”

The chancellor rejected the notion that years of austerity have stalled the economy and reduced the standard of living to 19th century levels, with families relying on food banks, a massive increase in homelessness and poverty leading to declining life expectancy.

Hammond insisted that he was doing really rather well and there have never been more millionaires in the cabinet.