London, Nov 9 : Staff at a Brit town hall have been banned from using the phrase "Singing from the same hymn sheet" as it could upset atheists.
Employees of the Salisbury council have been told that the religious implications of the saying, which has been in common phrasing for centuries, could offend non-believers.
"Avoid office and council jargon wherever possible, including phrases such as 'moving forward' and 'singing from the same hymn sheet'," the Telegraph quoted the Salisbury council as advising.
Besides the religious sounding phrase, other phrases like 'colour blind', 'black', 'British', 'West Indian' were also asked to be avoided as they could offend people.
Several authorities had banned basic Latin phrases such as 'ad hoc', 'etc' and 'status quo' because they were too complicated for people to understand.
Keith Porteous Wood, executive director of the National Secular Society, last night condemned the move.
"I think it has gone far too far," he said.
"The phrase has been around for a very long time and is very common. I use it myself. Of course we should all avoid phrases which can cause unnecessary offence, but this isn't one of them," he added.
Colin Slee, the Dean of Southwark, last night accused the council of excessive politically correctness.
"This is complete nonsense and yet another example of political correctness being dictated by someone who doesn't understand religious faith," he said.
The Royal National Institute for the Blind said it avoided the term "visual impairment".
"We always use the terms 'blind' and 'partially sighted' when talking to members of the public," their spokesman said.
Other local authorities across the country have also declared war on particular words and phrases, which they consider racist, sexist, nationalistic or homophobic.
Caerphilly council in Wales has asked staff to be careful about using the phrase British, as "it implies a false sense of unity" and is upsetting to many people in Wales, Scotland and Ireland.
The council's written guidance to staff states: "Many would argue that one way to denote ethnic minority people in this country would be to describe them as 'British Asians', 'Chinese British' etc.
Many councils say they are instituting 'plain English' policies to make their communications easier to understand.
Poole council said it had spent an undisclosed sum on a "successful plain English day last year" and was now booking additional sessions.
The plain English message seems to be struggling to hit home however.
In reply to The Sunday Telegraph's Freedom of Information request, Poole council stated that it was booking the extra sessions due to "strong demand from our service functions". The council also said it had issued a better English guide "to all our communication network facilitators".