Councils using Game of Thrones spoof to highlight treatment of poorest regions

The 'Game of Cuts' campaign is targeted at the London elite

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The Independent Online

It’s so grim up north – and in the Midlands and much of the South – that councils have resorted to a rip-off of Game of Thrones to get the wicked London elite to listen to their complaints.

In releasing ‘Game of Cuts’ a local government campaign group highlights what it claims is unfair treatment of the poorest regions.

The video apes the hugely successful television series by featuring a fictional kingdom ruled by Medieval-ish lords and ladies set in a time of castles, bodices and perpetual strife. Thankfully, however, it is a fraction under two minutes 30 seconds rather than the four full seasons – and counting - of its fantasy inspiration.


It was created by the campaign group Sigoma, which represents 45 local authorities, to draw attention to what it believes is the “unfair” distribution of government cuts.

In the video a roughly dressed northern lord and his equally sartorially challenged southern coast companion challenge the perfectly tailored rulers on the way cuts are having to be made.

“How can this be fair?” he asks as he points out the hardships of his people, only to be countered by the king’s uncle who retorts: “In the hamlets of Bucks and Berks there is still not enough funding to keep our tables supplies with swan and game.”

Such clear injustice, Sigoma says, is being created for real by the government’s demands on councils for repeated cutbacks.

“Under the current system less affluent authorities are increasingly struggling to deliver essential services and protect vulnerable people because of the cumulative impact of cuts over the last four years,” it said in a statement.

“Meanwhile more prosperous areas have seen much smaller reductions in funding and some have been able to secure more funds through government incentives.”

The campaign group said that since 2010 local authorities have lost more than 40 per cent of their core funding, more than £3 billion. The video cited the losses expected by March 2016 of several cities, including £202 million in Liverpool, £197 million in Manchester and £159 in Sheffield.

Cllr Sir Steve Houghton, leader of Barnsley Council and Sigoma’s chairman, said a system that leaves local authorities unable to care for their most vulnerable residents is “clearly unfair and unsustainable”.

The video, he said, was an attempt to draw attention to the problem: “We created this video because the national politicians aren’t listening. 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”.