DEFENCE and the thousands of associated jobs is one of the issues hotly disputed by both sides in the referendum campaign.

Two significant elements are Trident nuclear submarines at Faslane and the future of the shipbuild-ing industry on the Clyde, with both camps desperate to blow the other's arguments out of the water.

With the Better Together campaign arguing shipbuilding is dependent on UK MoD contracts, they say jobs will be lost and the remaining yards may close.

The Scottish Government, however, states the indus-try would be supported by Scottish Navy procurement contracts and through diversification into renew-able energy equipment.

Arguments rage over the future of the yards with around 3000 direct jobs and thousands more in the supply chain at stake.

Other firms with a reliance on UK defence equipment contracts employ thousands in the West of Scotland, including Babcock, Thales and Rolls-Royce, which all have large bases around Glasgow.

Trade unions support a No vote and fear jobs will go if Scotland is out of the UK and excluded from MoD naval contracts.

The Scottish Govern-ment's White Paper, Scot-land's Future, states there will be sufficient budget allocated to procurement to support industries, including shipbuilding.

As well as wanting to negotiate joint procure-ment with the UK Govern-ment and build the patrol vessels needed by a Scottish Navy, the Scottish Govern-ment said marine engineer-ing will help sustain jobs.

Its White Paper states: "The Scottish Govern-ment's work will therefore focus on the potential offer-ed by energy, particularly marine renewable, al-though it will also examine other aspects of defence diversification, for example those relevant to the shipbuilding industry."

It expects the Scottish budget for buying defence equipment to be similar to what Westminster allocates just now, but said initially a smaller proportion will be spent on personnel while the service grows, allowing more to be spent on equip-ment in the first few years.

It sates: "The Scottish Government regards supp-ort for our shipbuilding industry as a priority given our focus on maritime defence capabilities. "

The UK Government, however, lists the future of the defence industries and shipyards as one of the key reasons for keeping the UK.

Its Scotland Analysis paper says that Glasgow yards shared in a £5.6billion order for six destroyers, providing work for 4000 on the Clyde.

It also lists the new aircraft carriers with £1.2bn spent on the Clyde, backing 2000 jobs and another £300m in sub-contracts arguing these contracts would be lost to Scottish workers under independence.

The UK Government said: "Other than procurement activity undertaken during the world wars, the UK has not had a complex warship built outside of the UK since the start of the 20th Century at least."

AND its satement adds: "In the event of a vote in favour of leaving the UK, Scotland would be an entirely new state.

"Companies based in an independent Scotland would no longer be eligible for contracts that the contin-uing UK choose to place or complete domestically for national security reasons."

The UK Government quotes the Confederation of Ship-building and Engineering Unions: "Unless an indep-endent Scottish Government could provide equivalent orders, we would be greatly reduced or completely finished as a shipbuilding industry."

The argument comes down to whether or not the UK Government would want joint procurement deals with a Scottish Government for future orders.

And, if not, whether the Scottish Government could be able to provide enough work to sustain the industry.