COUNCILLORS will criticise controversial plans to deny non-life threatening surgery to obese people and smokers at a meeting tonight.

The plans by Vale of York Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) will mean that patients with a body-mass index (BMI) of more than 30 will face delays in receiving non-emergency surgery for up to a year unless they reduce their BMI to less than 30 or lose ten per cent of their body weight. Plans will also delay surgery for smokers for up to six months unless they stop smoking for at least two months.

A Labour motion to be debated by councillors this evening will criticise the policy on the basis that the percentage of people who are obese or who smoke is far higher in more deprived areas of the city. It will worsen existing health inequalities, the party said.

Cllr Stuart Barnes said: “We should all do more to take personal responsibility for our health. The fact remains, however, that wealthier communities have lower rates of smoking and obesity."

Support to help people stop smoking has been cut in York as a result of public health budget cuts.

Labour wants the council to receive a review from a public health expert to gain a full picture of the impact of the changes.