And all this time you thought I was joking. In fairness, so did I.
In case you can't be bothered to click through to the (generally pretty marvellous) Times Online site, here's Big Pete's rap:
Nearly three out of five of us say that we intend to cut back our summer holiday plans because of financial pressures.
A new Populus poll for The Times, carried out over the weekend, shows that 58 per cent are changing their original holiday plans in the light of the rising cost of living, the weakness of the pound against the euro and the credit crunch in Britain. This provides a striking illustration of the impact of economic gloom upon consumer confidence and spending plans.
There are big variations. Just under a half of professionals and managers say that they are making cutbacks, while nearly two thirds of skilled manual workers are doing so.
Just under a fifth of the public, 19 per cent, say that they are cancelling plans for a summer holiday altogether. If they carry out this intention, these cutbacks would be very worrying for the travel industry, particularly those dealing in overseas holidays. More than a quarter, 27 per cent, of unskilled manual workers, say that they are cancelling their holiday plans.
As many as two fifths, 41 per cent, of the public say that they are reducing the length of a summer holiday abroad. This includes just over half of skilled manual workers.
Nearly a third, 32 per cent, report that they are going on a cheaper holiday abroad than originally planned. In this area professionals and managers are, at 34 per cent, slightly more likely than the average to make cutbacks.
Just over a third of the public, 34 per cent, say that they are switching plans from a holiday abroad to a holiday in Britain. Only a quarter of professionals and managers, 26 per cent, say that they intend to do this. Such switching of holidays could provide a prop for the domestic travel industry against the impact of the economic downturn.
For now, job security is not a big worry. Nationwide building society’s latest survey, published today, found consumer confidence at a record low in June, yet people remain relatively upbeat about finding work: 50 per cent think there are currently some or many jobs available, while 37 per cent expect the situation to remain the same.
Fionnuala Earley, Nationwide’s chief economist, said that this one positive factor may not last. “While consumers appear to be fairly relaxed about the availability of jobs, with unemployment beginning to rise, we are likely to see a change in labour market sentiment over the coming months.”
However, thousands of jobseekers were turned away yesterday when a recruitment fair was overwhelmed. The jobs fair for a shopping centre was closed at lunchtime because of concerns over the crowds of people who turned up seeking work. Police halted the fair and asked anyone else planning to attend to stay away.
The event, organised by WhiteCity Works, an employment partnership set up by Hammersmith & Fulham borough, attracted 3,000 people, many more than expected. The shopping centre, which will have 265 stores and 40 restaurants, is expected to create 7,000 jobs.