With a hundred and twenty odd councils up and down the country, plus countless police and fire authorities and even the Audit Commission itself having over £923,000,000 tied up in the wreckage that was the Icelandic economy, the news that Local Government Minister John Healey was to announce a package of support was warmly welcomed.
Then Mr Healy went and spoilt it all by actually making his announcement. His support package? Permission for us not to have to say we’ve got money tied up in Iceland for another year.
Under new “accounting regulations” the government have changed their requirement for local authorities to factor the risk of Icelandic investments into their accounts. At least, not until 2010-11.
So whereas when the banks fall over because they get bitten by toxic debt, the government settle their shortfall with our money. But when 125 councils get bitten by the collapse of an entire economy, we just get to stay quiet about it for a year.
And there was me hoping we could just print enough money to cover the problem. But then that would be a ridiculous idea, wouldn’t it?