EARLIER this month, the Scottish Affairs Select Committee published a report which had very significant implications for our area.

The UK Government have confirmed that, in the event of separation, the SNP's intentions for Faslane and the submarines based there mean that the Royal Naval Base would close entirely.

This shows that separation would be a devastating blow to our local economy. There are currently around 6,700 jobs at the base and this is rising to 8,200 in the next few years, including a wide range of jobs, both civilian and military.

In addition to these jobs, estimates suggest there are around 4,500 jobs supported in the local economy (some estimates put this higher) and some �270 million pumped into the local economy every year.

Of course there are different opinions on the future of the UK's nuclear deterrent and that is a decision which must always be taken on its own merits. But separately to that we must be as informed as possible about the economic impact of the possibility of Scotland separating off from the rest of the UK, and this shows that it would be a devastating blow for the West of Scotland economy.

The Clyde Naval Base is Scotland's largest single site employer and this confirms that the nationalists' plans would result in the Royal Navy entirely withdrawing from the West Coast of Scotland.

I will fight for every job in our area regardless of the constitutional settlement but people need the full information when they decide how to vote in the referendum. We are finally starting to get to the truth and it is exposing the severe consequences of independence.

But the jobs at the base are not the only defence jobs which are under threat. The Clyde is internationally renowned for its shipbuilding expertise and history. Ministry of Defence contracts worth billions of pounds continue to support thousands of skilled jobs in engineering.

The Royal Navy has never built a warship outside of the UK, and in the past few months, Government Ministers have made it clear that, if it was to separate from the rest of the UK, Scotland's shipyards would lose out on billions of pounds of work - and the thousands of jobs they sustain.

The nationalists cannot even provide basic information about their defence plans for Scotland post separation. I believe that Scotland is more secure as part of the UK and it is now clear what the impact would be for our existing employment opportunities. In what is currently a very challenging economic situation, to lose our biggest employer would be catastrophic.