§ MR. PICTON (Leicester)
I beg to ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether, with a view to correct the various anomalies of the ancient law of Hall-marking of gold and silver wares, and the trouble now given to travellers from abroad having plate in their possession, and with the further view to encourage 396 the exportation of plate manufactured in the United Kingdom to countries whose standards differ from that of this country, and who may or may not require the British hall-mark, Her Majesty's Government are prepared, when occasion may permit, to bring in a Bill to reform the Hall-marking Laws, by abolishing "compulsory" hall-marking, leaving manufacturers to make plate at their discretion, hall-marked or not hall-marked, to suit the various demands of foreign countries; and whether he will refer this question to the Standards Department of the Board of Trade for consideration and report, and will lay such Report upon the Table of the House?
§ *THE PRESIDENT OF THE BOARD or TRADE (Sir M. HICKS BEACH,) Bristol, W.
My right hon. Friend has requested me to answer this question. This matter is now under the consideration of the Standards Department of the Board of Trade; but I can make no promise as to presenting any Report on the subject, or introducing a Bill for the abolition of compulsory hall-marking. I doubt if such a measure would be at all acceptable to the trade.