Britain thrown back into the Stone Age

The United Kingdom telecom giant BT was forced to slash 15,000 jobs in the last year with a similar amount expected during the coming 12 months after it reported an annual loss of £134 million, along with a £1.6 billion write-down at its Global Services Unit. Previous cuts reduced the company's workforce to 147,000.

Press editor Robert Peston claims the main problem at the Unit, which counts the NHS - Britain's largest employer - and Microsoft amongst its customers, has been spiralling costs. The company has also been hit by firms seeking cheaper services during the recession. Andy Kerr, of the Communication Workers Union, said that he hoped the cuts would not involve involuntary redundancies, though this looks unlikely since it would mean the loss of a further 10% of BT's employees.

Meanwhile, Royal Mail (previously known as the General Post Office, then Royal Mail, then Consignia until they realised everyone thought it was a silly name, then Royal Mail again - at a cost of more than anyone would like to think about), the company responsible for Britain's postal service, has seen profits of £321 million in the year up to 31.03.09, almost double the previous year's figure. This is the first time Royal Mail has made a profit in two decades and comes after what chief executive Adam Crozier called a "huge effort" to modernise and improve its efficiency.

Hedge-fund manager Tarquin Boscastle has lived in a tree for six months. "House prices
have become ridiculous, and I suppose I just fancied a simpler lifestyle," he says.

Industry experts are putting the figures down to a general tendency towards Ludditism amongst the British population, with many people claiming to distrust technology such as computers which prevents them from using e-mail, making it necessary for them to communicate with others using antiquated letter-writing techniques. Sales of metal tools such as knives have also dropped dramatically in recent years, while educational organisations offering courses in flint knapping have reported a massive rise in interest. Estate agents have also reported that large numbers of people who have found the price of houses to be out of their range are electing to instead live in caves or up trees.

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