* UK holds world's 18th largest gold reserves
* Poll puts supporters of independence ahead for first time
By Jan Harvey
LONDON, Sept 8 An independent Scotland could lay
claim to a part of the United Kingdom's 310-tonne gold reserves
if votes go in favour of the "Yes" campaign this month, with
ownership of Britain's bullion hoard up for negotiation along
with other assets.
"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 on
The United Kingdom, whose reserves are worth 7.84 billion
pounds ($12.6 billion) at today's prices, is currently the
world's 18th largest official sector gold holder.
A decision to break away from the United Kingdom when
Scotland's voters go to the polls on Sept. 18 would be followed
by negotiations with London over a raft of assets, including the
pound and North Sea oil.
Supporters of Scottish independence over the weekend took
their first opinion poll lead since the referendum campaign
began, with a YouGov survey for the Sunday Times newspaper
putting the "Yes" to independence campaign on 51 percent against
the "No" camp on 49 percent.
Former British Prime Minister Gordon Brown has faced
persistent criticism for disposing of almost 400 tonnes of the
United Kingdom's gold via a series of auctions between 1999 and
2002, when prices were at their lowest in around 20 years.
Gold prices surged over the following decade, topping out in
September 2011 at $1,920.30 an ounce, nearly five times their
end 2002 level.
Brown returned to frontline politics this year to campaign
for the preservation of Scotland's 307-year old union with
Spot gold was at $1,265 an ounce on Monday, little
changed from Friday. Sterling-denominated gold
outperformed as the pound sank to a 10-month low versus the
dollar, and was up 0.8 percent at 784.96 pounds an ounce at 1022
(1 US dollar = 0.6204 British pound)
(Reporting by Jan Harvey; Editing by Veronica Brown and Keiron