§ Mr. Shersby
To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if he will take all necessary steps to protect the public with regard to its purchase of gold and silver by ensuring that British goldsmiths and silversmiths are able to continue the use of assay marks on articles for sale in the United Kingdom and exported for sale in the member countries of the European Community; and if he will make a statement.
§ Mr. Leigh
The Government have made it clear that they regard the British hallmarking system as the best means of ensuring that the public have adequate protection with regard to its purchase of precious metal articles. There are currently differences in member states' precious metals regimes. In any future negotiations to develop a common system the Government's objective will therefore be to retain as much as possible of the United Kingdom hallmarking system.