First Minister-in-waiting Nicola Sturgeon has been accused of stifling a "metropolitan revolution" that could create jobs and transform the fortunes of Scotland's biggest cities.

In a speech last night, Glasgow City Council leader, councillor Gordon Matheson claimed moves to empower cities were being hampered by the SNP's "centralising and nation-building" policies.

He said the government agenda placed an "economic and social curse" on cities.

He was giving a lecture at ­Glasgow University organised by its new Policy Scotland think-tank.

Mr Matheson's comments were aimed at the Deputy First Minister, soon to be elected SNP leader, who has been Cabinet Secretary for Infrastructure, Investment and Cities since 2012.

He praised the recent City Deal between the UK Government and Manchester, dubbed "devo Manc," to hand a group of local authorities responsibility for a £22 billion budget with extensive powers over transport, housing, policing, social care and planning.

Describing it as a City Deal "on stilts," the Labour politician added: "In contrast, it seems to me that Scotland doesn't yet know what to do with cities.

"That's not to say that England has cracked it. But for years it's been ahead of Scotland when it comes to urban policy."

He said ministers had been slow to embrace the more limited City Deal for Glasgow and its neighbouring authorities that was announced in the summer.

The UK and Scottish Government initiative will bring in an extra £1.3bn of investment and create 28,000 jobs over the next two decades.

Mr Matheson said the Scottish Government had made a "vow to centralise" power at Holyrood rather than free the country's main cities.

He said: "The metropolitan revolution in our country is being quelled by the counterveiling forces of centralising and nation-building. True devolution isn't about transferring powers from one centralising government to another. I believe that Scotland should have more powers, but Holyrood should have less. And so should Whitehall.

"During this period of post-referendum negotiations, we will be missing an opportunity of historic proportions unless ­significant fiscal and functional devolution is made to Scotland's main cities, starting with Glasgow which is best placed to benefit.

"A vow to centralise is an economic and social curse."

Chancellor George Osborne announced a package of powers for Manchester and the north-west of England earlier this week.

The "city region" is home to 2.7 million people and has an ­economy bigger than that of Wales or Northern Ireland.

Under the plans it will be run by an elected mayor, like London, and gain powers to improve ­transport links among other things.

The move has been described as "home rule for Manchester" and similar deals are expected to be announced for Leeds and Sheffield in the Chancellor's Autumn Statement in December.

Mr Osborne has said he wants to turn the north of England into an economic powerhouse.

Mr Matheson argued devolution to city regions in England would answer calls for "English Vote for English Laws," (EVEL) which could undermine a future Labour government reliant on Scots MPs for its majority.

"What do we do with England after we've devolved to the home countries? He said the answer was not EVEL, but "fiscal and functional devolution to city regions."

A government spokesman said: "Scotland's cities created the Scottish Cities Alliance in partnership with the Scottish Government, and last month the Alliance launched its Investment Prospectus showcasing £10 billion worth of city investment opportunities."