CUTS to addiction service funding has been blamed for the “disappointing” rise in alcohol-related deaths in Clydebank.

The number of alcohol-related deaths in West Dunbartonshire increased to 28 in 2016, the highest in six years, but the total remains lower than a peak of 47 people in 2003, according to the National Records of Scotland.

The five-year trend shows a continual improvement since the highest of the last decade.

Meanwhile Glasgow recorded 208 deaths in 2016, a rise of 22 from the 2015.

John Macdonald, services manager from Dumbarton Area Council on Alcohol, told the Post the charity had been under significant pressure with £40,000 of its core funding being cut over the past three years.

He said: “It is disappointing to see an increase in the number of alcohol-related deaths in West Dunbartonshire in 2016 when this figure has been decreasing year on year for the last 15 years, however 2015 had the lowest number of alcohol related deaths since 1994.

“Twenty-eight deaths is still 28 too many and there are many people ending up in hospital for alcohol related complaints so there is still a lot of work to do.

“A refresh of the Scottish Governments Alcohol Strategy is due in the next few months which, it is hoped, will give new impetus to tackling alcohol issues.

“We also await the result of the final court hearing regarding minimum unit pricing which, if the Scottish Government succeed, will go a long way to changing how we view alcohol in Scotland.”

Councillor Marie McNair, convener of social work and health, added: “Alcohol misuse continues to blight too many families and communities across our area.

“The work carried out by the council on this front has had a positive effect.

“However, we can never rest on our laurels and will continue to work with our partners to tackle this issue.”

The town’s MP, Martin Docherty, of the SNP, insisted the Scottish Government is determined to drive down the death rate further.

He said: “The Scottish Government has committed to implement a wide range of measures to tackle alcohol-related harm, including minimum-pricing which we know from international evidence would help reduce the number alcohol-related deaths and hospital admissions.”

Meanwhile, the number of “probable suicides” has fluctuated each year from as low as eight in 2012, to 32 in 2011.

Last year’s figure of 12 is the second lowest since recording began in 1991 and West Dunbartonshire now has the lowest figure in a quarter century for five-year averages.

In Glasgow, the statistics are at their second lowest in 25 years, though up from 68 in 2015 to 91 in 2016.

The highest was in 1993 when 174 deaths were recorded as “intentional self-harm” or “event of undetermined intent”.

However, councillor for Garscadden/Scotstounhill Eva Murray says more must be done to combat the “worrying” figures.

She said: “It’s crucial now that the issues of mental health waiting times, early intervention and the lack of affordable housing are a seen as a priority for the Scottish Government and we don’t see any further rises in suicide rates.”

Fellow councillor Michael Cullen added: “We can and will continue this hard work and improve it by putting the needs of individuals and communities at the heart of the decision-making and empowering people to take more decisions about their own life’s and neighbourhoods is a vital part of improving our city’s health.”

A West Dunbartonshire Council spokesman said it works with partners to “promote positive mental health and develop support, particularly for young people”.

He added: “The council works closely with the NHS, the police and other organisations — through both the local Health and Social Care Partnership as well as the local Alcohol and Drugs Partnership — to address what is a complex issue.

“Recent national feedback has affirmed the positive impact made as a result of our commitment to developing local services and support, but we are clear that there is no room for complacency in both statutory and voluntary services.”