Nicola Sturgeon and Alex Salmond
The SNP has launched an attack on the British government's defence strategy which it sees as driven by austerity at the expense of ScotlandReuters

The Scottish National Party has accused the British government of ignoring the defence needs of Scotland, and unsurprisingly stated that only a "yes" vote will safeguard the country in the future.

According to Angus Robertson MP, the SNP's Westminster leader and defence spokesperson, a report published by the House of Commons Defence Select Committee is being ignored by politicians charged with defending the United Kingdom.

The report titled Towards the Next Defence and Security Review, calls on the British government to prioritise defence decisions based on strategy rather than budgetary concerns. The SNP has leapt on the report, to criticise the British government.

"This report, coming only two weeks after a Russian cruiser parked a few miles off the coast of Scotland and waited for a solitary Royal Navy ship to sail 600 miles north from Portsmouth to meet her, is another devastating reality check for the UK MoD. I welcome the committee's belated undertaking to look into how changes in the High North will affect our region," said Robertson.

The SNP's response to the report is just the latest criticism of central government policies, which seem to now appear on an almost daily basis.

Other complaints of late have included cuts in welfare spending, EU farming subsidies, the basing of nuclear weapons in Scotland.

Robertson said defence secretary Philip Hammond's response to the Russian warship near to Scotland's coastline betrayed ignorance.

Robertson said: "The Secretary of State for Defence's approach to the ever increasing activity of Russia in Scottish territorial waters ... seems to be one of blissful ignorance in the face of hard facts. It could not be a better illustration of how low a priority protecting Scotland's coastline is for Westminster."

A MoD spokesperson responded: "The idea that Scotland has been left exposed is completely false; we have been monitoring the movements of this vessel for some time using a range of assets which provide excellent security for Scotland as part of a UK force. As with all operational taskings, we won't comment on the specific deployment of our assets."

Robertson also focused on the government's defence cuts in relation to Scotland's security.

"The utterly mad decision to scrap the UK's maritime patrol aircraft fleet, combined with cuts after cuts, has left the UK over-stretched, over-exposed and under-protected.

"There are no major surface vessels based in Scotland to intercept incoming vessels, and there are no proper assets to monitor them from the air. The UK doesn't take its back yard seriously, but an independent Scotland would," he said.

Hammond said in a statement that it was "unrealistic to think that defence can operate in a vacuum, without having regard to the fiscal challenges the country faces."

The report from the House of Commons Defence Select Committee was also singled out by Robertson because it did not address the controversial question of nuclear weapons, which the SNP want removed from Scotland.

"It is also very disappointing that the report doesn't even mention Trident – how can any future review be taken seriously if it doesn't include the most dangerous and costly weapon system?

"The message is clear on defence: right now Scotland has what it doesn't need – nuclear weapons - and needs what it doesn't have - proper conventional defence assets. Only a Yes vote this year will change that," he said.