An independent Scotland would suffer a financial crisis worse than the banking crash and could see more, not less, austerity.
Danny Alexander, the Lib Dem chief secretary to the treasury who is himself Scottish, warned Scots that is they voted for independence and were worried about the impact of the Coalition government's austerity cuts, "You ain't seen nothing yet".
He added the financial pressures the independent country would face would "dwarf" what Scotland has been dealing with in recent years, because of its ageing population and the dwindling North Sea oil.
"If you’re a Scot and you’re worried about public expenditure and austerity, if you vote for independence, you ain’t seen nothing yet," Alexander told The Sun (£).
"The financial pressures that an independent Scotland would face would dwarf what I’ve had to do in the last four years."
Freedom from Westminster governments spending programmes, particularly the coalition government's campaign of cuts, has been a major argument used by the Yes Campaign in its push for independence ahead of the September poll on whether Scotland should leave the UK.
The Yes Campaign has also insisted Scotland is "one of the richest countries in the world" and independence would allow it to reap the rewards of its assets.
A spokesman for the Scottish Government's finance secretary John Swinney told The Sun that Alexander's comments showed how "rattled" the No Campaign was.
"The reality is Scotland is one of the richest countries in the world - wealthier, per head than Japan, France and the UK as a whole," he said.
"We've generated more tax, per head, than the UK for every one of the last 33 years.
"A Yes vote means we'll have the job-creating powers and an economic policy that will put Scotland first.
"It's a huge opportunity to protect Scotland's public services, like the NHS, from Westminster's cuts and privatisation agenda.
"And we know Danny Alexander's own party wants to scrap the current funding formula for Scotland if there's a No vote - which will mean even more Westminster cuts."Suggest a correction