ALEX Salmond is to demand a financial share of Britain's £821 billion of assets as part of an independence settlement.

The First Minister believes a separate Scotland would be entitled to 8.4% of the value of all the assets – which range from Caribbean embassies to a £5.3 million official residence in Buenos Aires – in line with its population share.

The SNP says the break-up of the UK to create an independent Scotland would be modelled around the division of the former Czechoslovakia in 1993, when state assets were shared out according to the population share of the newly formed nations.

Loading article content

Under this model, Scotland would be entitled to a £69bn share of assets, including £7.8bn worth of defence assets.

According to the most recent national asset register, the British Government owns about £759 billion of fixed assets, including Buckingham Palace and Edinburgh Castle.

The Foreign Office's estate, worth £1.5bn, has attracted interest from SNP strategists. Its embassy assets include a £2m base in the Bahamas, a £5.3m official residence and £1.5m office in Buenos Aires.

There are also Paris office buildings valued at £80m that the SNP described as "fit for a king", furnished with more than £3m worth of antiques, silver and rugs.

In practice, an independent Scotland would be expected to share some diplomatic resources with the British Government.

A spokesman for Finance Secretary John Swinney said: "The anti-independence parties are completely inept – they think Scotland should get our share of UK debt but not the assets. No wonder the people of Scotland reject them.

"These figures confirm that an independent Scotland will be in a stronger financial position than the rest of the UK."

However, Labour accused the SNP of living in "cloud cuckoo land". Patricia Ferguson, Labour MSP, said: "Most people will see it as fantasy. They [the SNP] will need to try harder to make a serious economic case for separation.

"Entering negotiations over the contents of the British Museum's display cabinets is not persuasive argument as to why we should turn our closest neighbour into our biggest competitor."