The Scottish National Party's "perverse logic" meant that toddlers were being deprived of free nursery care and students denied a place at college.
Willie Rennie suggested the SNP are a vindictive party that would do or say anything to get to power - even blackmailing voters with a promise that an independent Scotland would result in the funding that families and school leavers crave.
Mr Rennie said: "I have been saying for a long time that the SNP have the wrong priorities for Scotland. They have sacrificed health, transport, education and justice to campaign for independence.
"It might be right for the SNP but it's wrong for Scotland."
He said: "The lack of action from the SNP isn't an accident. It's being done on purpose. The SNP have said they will bring in childcare for two-year-olds if they get independence. But only if they get independence."
Mr Rennie said that 24,000 families - 3,000 in Glasgow - were being denied of additional funding for their toddlers by Alex Salmond's party.
On college places, he said that SNP policy had resulted in a cut of more than 80,000 in two years.
Taking to the main auditorium stage at the Lib Dem party conference, he asked: "What kind of perverse logic from the nationalists says that they will only reverse cuts to college places which have denied 80,000 learners the chance of gaining skills if those people vote for independence?
"If the First Minister wanted he could make this change today."
He said it was irresponsible for the SNP to use "the power of government as bait for their referendum trap".
He added: "Be in no doubt the nationalists will say and do anything to win the referendum."
Mr Rennie said that the £100,000 aid money for Syria pledged by the SNP was "welcome" news, but that it paled by comparison to the sums offered by the UK standing together. He said the £400 million offered by the UK Government was an example of the difference that Scotland could continue to make if remained in the Union.
"To deny success just because it's not invented by the SNP," he said.
Making his case for Scotland to vote against independence, he said: "I have a bigger ambition for Scotland in the world. Together we can feed more children; immunise more mothers; keep people safe; save more lives.
"A country that is so compassionate that it has the second biggest aid budget in the world is a country that I want to remain part of.
"A country that has such financial strength that it can bail out the banks in a crisis is a country I want to remain part of.
"A country that is so caring it invents the NHS, to look after the sick and the elderly is a country I want to stay part of.
"With Scotland in the United Kingdom we get the best of both worlds - and it's up to us to keep it that way."
His speech was greeted with a standing ovation at the end.