THE long-term unemployed are to be boiled down and used for soup, ministers confirmed last night.
Officials at the Department for Work and Pensions have already drawn up a list of flavours which they insist will be bursting with doley freshness.
The soups, to be sold in cartons at Waitrose and larger branches of the Co-op, will include broccoli and dolcelatte, garlic chicken broth and a spicy Mexican soup made with Geordies.
Under EU rules each carton must list the nutritional value of the unemployed and carry a sticker which reads: 'This soup contains scroungers'.
Work and pensions secretary James Purnell said the plans would transform lives by taking an unemployed person with no qualifications or prospects and turning them into a rich, meaty stock.
He added: "We have been guilty in the past of not using poor people to make soup.
"But we've listened and we want to assure hard-working families across Britain that if there's anything they disapprove of we will simmer it over a low heat with some celery and a bouquet garni."
Meanwhile, Mr Purnell said those out of work for less than six months will have to act as footstools, towel rails and drink holders for busy commuters.
Wayne Hayes, an unemployed from Deptford said: "I'm happy to hold hot cups of coffee while people tie their shoelaces, but I've always believed I could form the subtle yet textured base of an outstanding cock-a-leekie."