MORE funding is needed to reduce the harm caused by excessive drinking a charity has told MSPs.

Alcohol Focus Scotland has called on the Scottish Government to consider re-instating measures like the retailer levy on supermarkets selling alcohol to raise cash.

The charity campaign group said that there has been a cut to Alcohol and Drug Partnerships direct funding by 22% in the last year.

The group said that half of health boards in Scotland did not make up the shortfall.

Glasgow Times: Alison Douglas, Scottish govt head of alcohol policy.

Pictured: Alison Douglas, Scottish govt head of alcohol policy.

It called for funding to be restored to the previous levels to help reduce alcohol related deaths and cut the number of hospital admissions due to problem drinking.

It told the Scottish Parliament Health and Sport Committee: “Reducing the funds available for such support services is a false economy, which will only increase pressures on the health services and general practice in particular.”

Alison Douglas, Chief Executive AFS, said: “On the public health supplement on large retailers, we think there’s a strong case for re-introducing something along those lines.”

AFS said that the levy when introduced in 2012 was expected to raise £95m by 2015.

It added: “It is unfortunate that the revenues raised form this levy did not contribute to preventative spending on health as originally intended and the supplement was not renewed on its expiry in 2015.

She said minimum unit pricing would be the most effective of the range of available options and those who seek to “deflect and detract” from the policy stating alternative proposals have been shown to be of little benefit.

Ms Douglas said that more education work and health promotion was required around the dangers of alcohol.

She called for greater restriction on marketing where children and young people an be exposed to alcohol promotions.

She added: “We need a clear message around preventative activity. Many people are unaware of the link between alcohol and cancer.”

In a written submission AFS said: “Despite alcohol being a group one carcinogen alongside tobacco ans asbestos, less than half of Scots associate drinking alcohol with cancer.”