The distribution of the UK’s assets in the event of Scottish independence would be subject to negotiation between an independent Scottish Government and the continuing UK government, a spokesman for the United Kingdom Treasury said.
The United Kingdom, whose reserves are worth 7.84 billion pounds ($12.6 billion) at today’s prices, making it the world’s 18th largest gold reserves holder, Reuters reported on Monday.
In total, the UK is said to have 310 metric tons in gold reserves.
A YouGov poll in the Sunday Times indicated that 51 percent of Scots supported independence while 49 percent backed the current Union.
It was the first time polls suggested there could be a ‘Yes’ vote for independence in the referendum on September 18. If Scots vote for independence, this would be followed by negotiations with London over a raft of assets, including the pound and North Sea oil. Britain’s gold reserves and how to divide them would be part of these negotiations.
Former British Prime Minister Gordon Brown has faced persistent criticism for disposing of almost 400 tons of the United Kingdom’s gold through a series of auctions between 1999 and 2002, when prices were at their lowest in around 20 years. However, gold prices surged over the following decade, rising five times to $1,920.30 an ounce in September 2011 in comparison to 2002.
Brown has subsequently campaigned for the preservation of Scotland’s 307-year old union with England.
Meanwhile, Sterling fell to a 10-month low against the dollar on Monday amid a sell-off of Scotland-linked companies.
The markets reacted with widespread negative sentiment over rising uncertainty about the United Kingdom’s economic stability, especially after the weekend poll showed rising support for independence.