Lewisham Council has slammed the government's proposed £200m reduction to public health funding which will "cut services to the bone" according to a councillor.

The local authority has formally responded to the consultation which sets out four options of savings to the public health grant as part of an overall reductions package of £3billion across government services.

Bellingham ward councillor Alan Hall, who chairs Lewisham's overview and scrutiny committee, described the cuts as a "a cruel con-trick that will backfire on all of society".

He said: "The Chancellor of the Exchequer is cutting preventative health care and so will inevitably put greater strain on the NHS locally.

"This damages not only the poorest communities but it damages all of us that use the NHS - it’s cutting to the bone."

In order to make the proposed savings the council would have to reduce the investment in Lewisham and Greenwich NHS trust, which operates services at Lewisham Hospital and Queen Elizabeth in Greenwich.

In July 2013 campaigners won a legal battle to save services at Lewisham Hospital open, after plans were announced the year before to axe the A&E, maternity, intensive care, medical, surgical and children’s wards. 

News Shopper:

The Save Lewisham Hospital campaign.

Coun. Hall told News Shopper that the proposed cuts add "further uncertainty" to the trust's future, just before a major consultation into the future of hospitals in the area is due to begin.

The council's response, which has been drafted with NHS Lewisham and the Lewisham clinical commissioning group, condemns all four options proposed by the department of health.

The options include imposing a flat rate percentage of savings across all local authorities in the country; utilising individual councils' unspent reserves carried over from the previous year; and devising a formula to claim more from councils significantly above their share of the grant.

Lewisham Council has suggested their preference to the fourth option, which would reduce spending by a standard percentage, unless they can argue their case as to why the cuts would have a particularly damaging effect on residents of the borough.

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Councillor Alan Hall of Bellingham ward.

The report suggests option C - a flat rate percentage - which is the Government's preferred proposal, would have the most damaging effect on Lewisham.

It reads: "The London Borough of Lewisham will face particular hardship if the chancellor goes ahead with his plans, but will suffer even worse hardship if it is to be subjected to a standard, flat rate percentage reduction in funding.

"Lewisham is a diverse borough with severe levels of deprivation which experiences significantly worse health outcomes than London and England."