As it emerged that as many as one £1 coin in twenty could be a fake, the Chancellor of the Exchequer today praised Britain's public-spirited forgers and counterfeiters for putting so much effort into quantitative easing.
"The Royal Mint has been working flat out to put as much new currency into circulation as possible," said Mr Darling. "However, even with all the presses running flat out, there are only so many hours in the day. So I'd like to thank the criminal underworld for coming to the rescue in Britain's time of need. The more money there is, the better."
The Bank of England, however, pointed out that forgeries may not be accepted by sharp-eyed retailers. Some feature a portrait of Barbara Windsor instead of the Queen, while others have replaced the inscriptions around the coin's edge with mottoes from Christmas crackers.
"The Treasury is in negotiations with leading underworld figures about the possibility of subcontracting them to do the job properly," announced the Chancellor. "We have opened talks with the presentation of a complete set of proof-quality dies, as a measure of our good faith."
He went on to say that, in a reciprocal spirit of co-operation, the criminal fraternity had already commenced production of near-perfect forgeries, adding that they were asking for the contract fee to be paid in krugerrands.
The international money market reacted to the announcement with an unprecedented run on chocolate money.
"Not only is the shiny foil wrapper now worth more than the pound, but you can eat the chocolate too, if you want to," said a spokesman for leading currency brokers Moriarty Raffles.
"Yum," he added.