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Chancellor’s Speech AGPU 2009

Ladies and Gentlemen, Esteemed Guests – and Hashers.

When Dark Horse and I met in 1994 in a swish bistro near Shadwell, we discussed the long-term future of Hash finances. We agreed then that there would be an orderly hand-over of the hash cash tin from him to me in due course.

The most pessimistic projections at that time did not, however, anticipate a fourteen year waiting period. A wait which spanned three general elections and saw off at least six YH3 Grand Masters. Nonetheless, I stand here finally in my rightful place to set my first budget before this Hash.

The core purpose of this Budget is drunkenness – both now and in the future.

In every hash in 2009, every mismanagement has one aim - to increase beer consumption in spite of the world economic slowdown.

Yorkshire with its central role in the world’s brewing industry is no exception.

While the Harrogate Hash has suffered recession, the Yorkshire Hash has now been partying continuously for over a decade – the longest period of sustained drunkenness in hashing history.

In today’s difficult and uncertain times, we are determined that we will not be diverted from our long-term aims – to encourage debauchery and to embed child inebriation throughout the next generation.

This Budget is about making sure that everyone – no matter what their age or circumstances - can abuse their bodies to the fullest extent.

The reforms made since 1994 – independence for the Hash bank accounts and tough fiscal rules – mean that Yorkshire Hash House Harriers are now better equipped to meet global challenges, including invasions from Third World hashes such as The Hague, Durban and Scarborough.

Yorkshire’s GPD (Gross Pints Drunk) for every man, woman and child, has gone from the lowest amongst the group of seven leading industrial hashes in the early 1990s to being second only to Wirral and Chester last year.

Accordingly, our down-down bill will continue to grow throughout this period of global uncertainty – a view supported by the International Monetary Fund, the Magnum Institute for Hashing Development and Alcoholics Anonymous.

Our fiscal rules – to keep subs low and to spend heavily over the AGPU cycle – have yielded continual enjoyment and increased memory loss for all hashers in the medium-to-long term.

Average AGPU bar bills which – at the start of the Spiderman cycle in 1995 – were £36.60 have now risen to 43.3 per cent of GPD as a result of our Root and branch reforms. We have seen recent sharp increases in world prices for beer, flour and personal haberdashery services.

Nonetheless, we will decrease subscriptions by 50 pence per run in real terms from 2009. Subs are due to rise again in December but, because I want to sustain consumption now and help both Ferrets and Polecats in the future, I will postpone that increase until 2011.

This is a responsible approach that will entrench the resilience of YH3’s economy. As a result, vital investment – in down-downs, haberdash and Foot-In-Crutch’s bar bill – has been protected and increased.

By 2011 we will have seen the longest sustained expansion of investment in YH3 services since 1981.

Spending on down-downs has almost doubled; spending on food is up by 58 per cent.

Bus and train usage is now 90 per cent higher because YH3 is now predominately of PUPS age and public transport is being chosen more than ever before.

Aid for the Yorkshire’s poorest hashers has doubled in real terms.

We have turned welfare into beer and borrowing into trail creation.

And it is essential that we continue to help everyone who can lay trails to do so.

From April 2010 all inactive long-term hashers will attend trail capability assessments. All PUPS, particularly, Henry and Ginger Root, Jack Tar, Lick It Up and Grope, will lose their bus passes if they then refuse to lay trails for YH3.

Mismanagement welcomes the contribution made by hashers born outside the UK who choose to hash here at AGPU. These include everyone from the Isle of Wight. They are an important and central contributor to our hash’s growth and prosperity.

But for those non-domiciled hashers, such as Long Hose and Headbutt who have chosen to make Yorkshire their home, I believe that it is right and fair that they should, after 7 years, pay a reasonable charge to maintain the right to dispatch their down-downs more quickly than indigenous Yorkshire hashers.

We will continue to be vigilant against subscription and raffle avoidance. To this end we are publishing today further measures to ensure fairness, including a five year moratorium on booze-winning rights for Weasel Shit and Candyfloss.

Turning to the housing market, we must ensure that we meet the rising demand from co-habiting hashers for new homes and support the ever-growing number of those couples who are newly-married.

I can announce that from today, subs and raffle duty on shared ownership dwellings will not be required until buyers own 80 per cent of the equity in their home. This exempts approximately 98 per cent of all Yorkshire hashers from paying anything for the foreseeable future.

We are determined to take tough decisions now for the long-term future of our hash. And our greatest obligation to future generations must be to tackle environmental change, particularly the unprecedented rate of Public House closures and real ale withdrawals.

Yorkshire has been at the forefront of international action. We are one of the few hashes meeting our CAMRA targets, by running from the Grove in Holbeck at least ten times each year.

Few right-minded hashers now doubt the science and the dangers of chemical-laden-cooking-lager. There will be catastrophic social and psychological consequences if we fail to act.

In recognition of this, we have an established a target to reduce lager consumption in the hash by at least 60 per cent by 2050.

I believe, however, that we should go further.

We have asked the Norfolk Hash to advise us whether – as part of an international agreement – we should raise this target to 80 per cent. Wimpy and Twonk are conducting extensive research and are due to report back by the end of this weekend.

Finally, our subs system must be seen to discriminate in favour of our more methane-efficient and consequently less smelly members.

Hashers that emit less than 130 grams of methane per kilometre will pay no subs at all in the first year. But a higher rate will be imposed upon the most polluting hashers – you know who you are.

Cutting subscriptions for those who cut out their flatulence!

Mr GM, I have made my choice.

Increased spending all round - not mealy-mouthed credit-crunch-driven attrition.

Debauchery and drunkenness for everyone in Yorkshire.

I commend this budget to the Hash!

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