Councils are warning that ‘winter is coming’ for budget cuts in a new Game of Thrones parody unveiled by England’s cities.
Devised by town hall group SIGOMA, the ‘Game of Cuts’ spoof portrays Lord Ned Starp of the North and Midlands and his companion from the Southern Ports as they voice their fury about funding reductions.
Their calls for an end to unfair cash penalties are met with derision from richer regions and the king, who even shoots Lord Starp in the back with a crossbow bolt.
‘Game of Cuts’ thankfully has far less nudity and fewer decapitations than its inspiration, which has won a worldwide audience thanks to its mix of heady violence and lusty knights.
SIGOMA is using the film to highlight parallels between the show and UK approaches to local government finance, which it claims is penalising some of the poorest regions in England.
The body claims that funding reductions since 2010 have left poorer authorities struggling to deliver services yet more prosperous regions have lost less cash and can secure greater support through other government incentives.
Research by SIGOMA indicates that while Liverpool will have lost £202m in government cuts and Manchester £197m, a particular pair of local authorities in the south will have lost only £9m and £13m.
Cllr Sir Steve Houghton, chair of SIGOMA and leader of Barnsley Council, said the film had been made because ‘the national politicians aren't listening’ to their complaints.
‘While councils have made every effort to absorb the funding cuts and adapt, the successive rounds of cuts mean that councils are rapidly running out of options for making the savings required,’ he said.
‘Clearly a situation in which some councils are struggling to provide essential services such as care and support for their most vulnerable residents, whilst others have more than enough, is clearly unfair and unsustainable.
‘Council funding must be fairer and based on need to ensure that all authorities have the resources they need to provide statutory services. We want all political parties to sign up to our fair funding principles.’
Responding to the video, vice-chairman of the Conservative Party and MP for Bromley & Chislehurst, Bob Neill, said: 'Taxpayers’ money shouldn’t be used to subsidise the box set fantasies of town hall officials. It’s a complete waste of money, but also a complete fiction.
'It’s missing the key plot – there’s a black hole in the Kingdom’s coffers, thanks to the bad old days of King Gordon. His hand of the king, Baron Red Ed, may now eye the throne, but he would wind the clock back to same failed old policies of government waste and higher taxes, meaning less money to go around for local services.'