Half of people believe the Scottish Government is spending too much public cash on independence and next year's referendum, according to a survey.

The YouGov poll, carried out on behalf of the anti-independence Better Together campaign, also found 56% of those questioned say that the £800,000 reportedly spent on publicising its White Paper on independence was a bad use of public money.

Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie said: "This poll should act as a wake-up call to the SNP.

"People in Scotland want their taxes to be invested in jobs, education and skills, not on propaganda for Alex Salmond's obsession with independence."

But SNP MSP Stewart Maxwell hit back, saying: "This is rank hypocrisy from the No campaign who previously demanded more information on how an independent Scotland will work and now complain that this information has been published.

"In 1997, Westminster spent £1 million in today's money promoting the devolution White Paper, and the No parties have never said a cheep about that."

YouGov questioned 1,073 people between December 17 and 19, three weeks after First Minister Alex Salmond presented the White Paper at an event in Glasgow.

The poll asked people about the cash spent on it by the Scottish Government. Of those questioned, 56% believe that the £800,000 said to have been spent was a bad use of public funds, 34% say it was a good use of money and 10% do not know.

It also questioned people about the amount of money the Government was spending on independence and the referendum, with 50% saying it was too much, 9% think not enough cash was being spent, 25% think it was about the right amount and 17% do not know.

Mr Rennie accused ministers of having the wrong priorities, saying: "The Scottish Government has rebuffed my calls for investment in colleges, school meals and nursery education.

"Instead, Alex Salmond has spent hundreds of thousands of pounds of taxpayers' money on adverts for the White Paper and his independence plans. It would seem he is living on a different planet to the rest of us.

"The polls show that despite spending so much public money on the White Paper, people in Scotland remain unconvinced by the case for breaking up the UK family of nations."

Mr Maxwell said: "It speaks volumes about the concerns in the anti-independence campaign that they seem to be opposed to people in Scotland getting the information they need before making their choice in next year's referendum.

"Perhaps that is because they know full well that the more informed people are about the facts of an independent Scotland, the more likely they are to see through the No campaign's hollow Project Fear tactics and vote Yes.

"We have set out our positive vision for what an independent Scotland will look like.

"These latest complaints simply underline the fact that the only prospect the No camp can offer is many more dismal years of Westminster cuts and decisions that run counter to Scotland's interests."

A Scottish Government spokeswoman said: "It is the Scottish Government's responsibility to ensure that voters have the information they need to participate in the national debate and make an informed decision in the referendum.

"As part of the process, the Scottish Government has set out full details of the offer to the people of Scotland in Scotland's Future.

"The arrangements for the referendum are designed to reflect what happens in other elections and referendums."