Defence personnel are being disproportionately cut in Scotland, the SNP has said, after figures showed the number of servicemen and women has reached a new low.

The party has called on the UK Government to rule out further reductions north of the border.

There were 9,400 military personnel in Scotland as of July 1, according to the latest Ministry of Defence statistics, down from 10,390 as of July 1 last year.

The drop was the biggest change of all the UK regions.

The figures also revealed that civilian staff in Scotland have fallen to 3,770, down from 3,930 a year ago.

The statistics mean that the number of defence personnel in Scotland has declined by 17% in the last three years, compared with 11% in England, the SNP said.

Fife has been hit by the closure of the RAF base at Leuchars, with the site handed over to the army earlier this year.

Military personnel in the region have dropped from 1,040 in July 2014 to just 200 a year later, while overall defence personnel have fallen from 1,770 in April 2012 to 570 in July 2015.

Brendan O'Hara MP, SNP defence spokesman, said: "These figures make for alarming reading - and confirm the continued, disproportionate cuts that successive Westminster governments have made to Scotland's defence footprint.

"In the last three years of Tory-led government the overall figures for England showed a decline of 11% compared with a whopping 17% in Scotland.

"With airbases such as Leuchars being axed we have seen Fife badly hit with a reduction from 1,770 personnel to just 570 since April 2012."

He added: "The Tories claim that they are the party of defence and yet we see time after time - they cut the defence footprint in Scotland to the bone to the point where we are left in the ridiculous situation in Scotland as a maritime nation without a single maritime patrol aircraft to defend our waters and without the proper conventional naval vessels based in Scotland, whilst Westminster is hell-bent on renewing Scotland's nuclear arsenal.

"With plans by the UK Government to initiate a new Strategic Defence and Security Review (SDSR) this autumn, the Ministry of Defence must rule out further damaging cuts to Scotland's defence communities who have been hit by job losses, base closures and cuts to key conventional capabilities."

An MoD spokesman said: "Numbers of personnel throughout the UK, including Scotland, will fluctuate as the military make the necessary changes and unit moves to deliver the Future Force 2020 basing laydown and target strength.

"On current plans, by 2020 Scotland will be home to all of the Royal Navy's submarines, one of the Army's seven Adaptable Force Brigades and one of three RAF fast jet main operating bases. This demonstrates our commitment to Scotland and to its continued vital role in defence."