THE government is offering £7 an hour to anyone who will have a weekly pint of beer with Chancellor Alistair Darling.
Senior officials are worried Mr Darling is spending too much time in his room and is losing touch with the outside world.
They have put up notices in shop windows around Whitehall seeking a 'middle-aged man who enjoys real ale and could spend a few hours a week chatting and drinking with the Chancellor of the Exchequer'.
Permanent Secretary to the Treasury, Nicholas McPherson, said: "He just needs a bit of human interaction now and again, but unfortunately none of his cabinet colleagues want to be seen with him in public.
"It needs to be someone who is a good listener and won't interrupt too much.
"And it should, ideally, be someone who is financially comfortable. He does like to give away taxpayers' money so we don't want anyone who will take advantage of that.
"We will have to vet them very carefully. The last thing we want is a Northern Rock shareholder who'll drag him into the car park and beat him senseless."
Mr McPherson added: "I must stress that the successful candidate will have to have a lot of patience as the Chancellor is unbelievably boring."