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Gobbledygook prizewinner announced

July 17, 2011 1:25 PM
By Sir Miles Groppling OBE

The 2011 prize for the finest example of council-speak has gone to Wiltshire Council finance officer Michael Hudson. In a report to the WC cabinet setting out the final accounts for the 2010/11 financial year Mr Hudson announced that as a result of a VAT rebate the balance was in credit and there was some spare money.

The award-winning paragraph explained that:

"£500,000 to be ring fenced to an invest to save earmarked reserve to allow for a pot for pump priming of new corporate initiatives to produce savings."

The judges were impressed by the accumulation of metaphors all of which enjoyed a common agricultural theme.

- ring fence - a circular enclosure or corral for the temporary holding of livestock.

- earmark - to tag livestock in such a way as to make them individually identifiable.

- pump priming - to pour a small amount of water into the mechanism to start the process of allowing ground water to be pumped up to give the livestock something to drink.

- pot - a receptacle for transporting the water.

Although the judges regretted that there was no mention of kick-starting or issues within the sentence and that there was a complete lack of grocers' apostrophes they were unanimous in their decision.

Translated into English the statement means: "£500,000 to be put into reserves and made available for investment."