ROGUE TRADER

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The Independent Online
This week's typical families ...

... and how they are affected by the Budget.

THE ADDAMS FAMILY. Married couple (Morticia and Gomez) with live-in relatives (Uncle Fester and Cousin Itt). Two kids (Wednesday and Pugsley). One employee (Lurch, the butler). All family members are over 10,000 years old and undead, so extra benefits for the aged and changes to death duties more than outweigh duty increases. Gomez drinks zero-rated liquid nitrogen.

BETTER OFF.

THE CLIP ART/GRAPHICS FAMILY. Two-dimensional married couple with exactly 2.6 kids. Have featured heavily in all newspapers and on TV this week. But they only work for one day in the year (Budget day). They do not own the copyright to themselves and so are not liable to inheritance tax.

NO CHANGE.

THE PARTRIDGE FAMILY. Extremely wholesome working single mum (Shirley Partridge) with no less than five kids, including one multi-millionaire teenage rock star. Heavy professional expenses (diesel for Tour Bus, hair lacquer, freckle cream, flared brown nylon unisex cat-suits and average of 20 tons of toothpaste. Massively quids-in because of child tax credits. A perfect example of the sort of family New Labour is trying to help. BIG WINNERS

THE WOODENTOP FAMILY. Loathsome, sexist, petit-bourgeois, patriarchal nuclear family with live-in servant. Drive huge gas-guzzling wooden Galt People Carrier and have massive mortgage on dreadful chintzy doll's house in suburban Toy Town. Kids attend minor public school, along with all the other Woodentops. Would have mobile phones, but can't talk. Non-smokers, obviously.

TAKEN TO THE CLEANERS.

Gobsmacking facts, priceless advice and utterly crucial information to impress people with. This week culled from `Money Observer'...

* "It is difficult to pick up a newspaper these days without reading about the launch of another Pan-European Equity Index". If you are very, very sad, that is.

* "British Energy's Web Site is one of the best in the world. It is aesthetically pleasing and also provides comprehensible regulatory information." More profound sadness.

* "As the euro zone evolves into a truly single market, country divisions will become less important." Scoop!

* "Bookmakers were not put on this earth to be loved: they are too smart for the rest of us." MO also breaks the news that some bookmakers have adopted the slogan: "There's a mug born every minute."

* More gambling advice: "Predicting the outcome of a horse race and backing such hunches with more money than you can afford to lose is a temptation for the foolhardy."

So don't do it.

What's happening this week

Monday

Eurotunnel reports. It's RT's favourite company as it is so lusciously, flagrantly, almost erotically indifferent to debt. Last year it managed to dump a pounds 5.8bn IOU on 178 banks under its majestically profligate executive chairman Patrick Ponsolle. Now he plans to triple Europe's biggest debt mountain by building a second and even more deliciously unprofitable tunnel next to the first one. Later, EU finance ministers meet to discuss the Euro-jobless. So, let M Ponsolle set them to work connecting the Chunnel to the (also gorgeously uneconomic) Jubilee Line extension.

Tuesday

Leading cable TV operator Telewest to report. Gloom all round as Brits steadfastly refuse to hook up to cable TV. Only 20 per cent have signed (versus 95 per cent in Belgium). Why Telewest and the others should have spent pounds 10bn to create a TV system that delivers programmes of less interest than the back of the average bus ticket is one of the great mysteries of economics today. Coca-Cola UK reports. There are expansion and diversification plans that involve selling Coca-Cola-branded track suits to Romania, for some reason.

Wednesday

Save Our Sizzlers! Leading sausage maker Devro reports on a plan to sack 3,000 workers and import sausage skins from the Czech republic instead. Hepworth, makers of very exciting plastic pipes, are to report. WTO conference on international trade and world development will lead to more globalisation blither. Zzzzzzz.

Thursday

Geest to report. Now it can charge a fortune by cooling water, adding GM protein, and calling it Umbrian Nine Bean Salad, the ex-Dutch firm has diversified from bananas into "chilled foods". Just as well, with the Euro-US Banana War.

Friday

Forecast indicates the start of spring-style weather. City to close by 2.15pm and form an orderly traffic jam on the M4.

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