Scottish LibDem leader Willie Rennie was today speaking at the party conference, attacking the Scottish Government over childcare provision.
The LibDem UK Conference opens in Glasgow today with thousands of delegates in the city for the four-day event.
Mr Rennie said the Scottish Government can provide more free childcare, but refuses to do so, insisting there will be better to come after independence.
In his budget on Wednesday John Swinney announced more hours of childcare for three and four year-olds and looked after two year-olds.
But the LibDems want him to go further and offer places to 40% of two year olds.
He will tell the conference: "We know this works.
"The returns don't just come in 20 years' time but in months. We see an immediate uplift in support for families.
"But Alex Salmond will still not listen to our pleas to make it happen now.
"Instead he uses nursery education as bait for the voters.
"He tells us that Scotland will have the best childcare arrangements on these islands, but only after independence."
"They are demanding nothing short of a ransom from the voters before they release the benefit to our children. They are holding a generation of our children hostage."
He said the first 20% of places would be for children who would qualify for free school meals and the second tranche based on an income threshold, as in England.
He said Glasgow would benefit more with a higher rate of free school meal eligibility estimated at 3000 two-year-olds and people on lower incomes.
Tomorrow the conference will also hear from consumer affairs minister Jo Swinson and veteran Shirley Williams.
Campaigners arguing to scrap the bedroom tax are planning a demonstration outside the conference venue at the SECC, following a march from George square at lunchtime.
The campaigners, including tenants groups, housing associations and trade unions are targeting the LibDems hoping the party members put pressure of their leader Nick Clegg to convince the Prime Minister and Chancellor to scrap the policy.
Mr Rennie said he will also be promoting more devolved powers to the Scottish Parliament after a no vote in the referendum. He said "A no vote does not mean no change"
He is also pursuing calls for more authority for cities.