Leaders on both sides of the independence debate have clashed over a call to set the role of local government in a written constitution.
Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon announced to a conference of more than 200 local authority figures that she wants the status of councils enshrined if voters back Scottish independence in autumn next year.
Labour MP Alistair Darling, who leads the pro-UK Better Together campaign and spoke afterwards, said any constitution would be "hot air" without the funds to back it up, drawing attention to what he called volatile resources for a potential Scottish treasury.
The pair appeared at the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities (Cosla) annual conference at Fairmont Hotel near St Andrews in Fife.
Ms Sturgeon, who has argued for a written constitution to cover areas such as free education and a ban on nuclear weapons, said: "I can announce today we will also argue for Scotland's constitution to guarantee the status and rights of local government. The role of Scottish local authorities should be entrenched in a written constitution; a democratic settlement that only independence offers.
"Such constitutional protection is mainstream in developed democracies such as Germany, Denmark and Sweden. Once again, it is the UK which is the exception. We believe this should also be the case in a modern, independent Scotland and I look forward to having productive discussions on further details with representatives and champions of local government in Scotland."
The Better Together campaign published a leaked one-year-old Scottish Cabinet document this week in which ministers were warned of "cost pressures" on public spending. It also raised concerns about the volatility of oil revenue, prompting unionists to complain that SNP ministers say one thing privately and another publicly.
The paper predicted public finances will recover and rise from 2017-18 onwards.
Mr Darling, a former UK chancellor, said: "I've heard what has been said about a written constitution. I was a lawyer once, Nicola was a lawyer as well. I'm innately suspicious of written constitutions. A written constitution without the resources to back it up is hot air.
"We have had the right to free education in Scotland since 1872. What actually matters is not so much your right to education but what happens when you actually get into that school."