Santa redundant amid tough times
Officials on New York's Long Island have said they can no longer afford to pay a man £412 for playing Santa at a general store run by Suffolk County.
The St. James General Store, which was built in 1857, is on the National Register of Historic Places. It was operated privately for decades until Suffolk took it over in 1990.
The county is now looking for volunteers to replace 83-year-old David McKell, who has been playing Santa for nine years. County executive Steve Levy and his top aide have offered to take a shift playing the jolly elf at the store.
A spokesman for the county executive told news website newsday.com that officials are considering layoffs for 750 employees to help close an estimated £84.4 million budget gap.