§ 35. Mr. John Page
asked the President of the Board of Trade when he proposes to introduce legislation to change the hall-marking laws in connection with the attachment of precious metals to base metals in the manufacture of musical 1548 instruments; and if he will make a statement.
§ Mrs. Gwyneth Dunwoody
The treatment of articles made partly of precious metal and partly of other materials is one of the difficult problems to be resolved before we can introduce reforming legislation. I cannot predict when this will be possible.
§ Mr. Page
Is the hon. Lady aware that the musical instrument industry is losing a lot of important export business because it cannot attach a silver lip plate to a metal musical instrument, even though it is not required to be hallmarked? Cannot the hon. Lady cut through a bit of red tape since the Goldsmiths' Company and the Assay Office are keen to co-operate with the musical instruments industry in any sensible proposals?
§ Mrs. Dunwoody
I certainly have sympathy with the hon. Member. He will accept that it is difficult to use a hallmark which, apparently, gives a cachet to the entire instrument. If there is a way round this, we shall be only too happy to find it. As the mother of somebody who is trying to learn to use one of these instruments, all I can say is that one can get awfully fed up with hearing "Good King Wenceslas".