Thousands of high street pharmacies are under threat because of Government plans to cut NHS funding, according to the Health Minister.

High street pharmacies face a £170m cut in October as the Government wants the sector to play its part in delivering NHS efficiencies.

Health Minister Alistair Burt said between “1,000 and 3,000 pharmacies” out of 11,674 in the UK could shut as a result of the move.

Burt told Parliament’s All-Party Pharmacy Group that smaller, independent pharmacies were most likely to be affected. The shake-up could pave the way for bigger chains to take further market share.

Local pharmacies rely on the NHS for 90% of their income with each pharmacy receiving £220,000 on average.

However, funding for these pharmacies is set to fall from £2.8bn to £2.63bn from October as part of the drive to find £22bn of savings across the health service by 2020.

Officials from the Department of Health claim that in some parts of the UK there are more pharmacies than required.

Boots president Simon Roberts told Retail Week this week he believed high streets will become “more important” with the shift to convenience shopping.