§ Sir John Wheeler
To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what proposals have been received from the EC concerning the assay of gold and silver in the United Kingdom; and what steps he is taking to preserve the standards and stamping system that prevails in the United Kingdom.
§ Mr. Leigh
The EC Commission has indicated that it does not intend to propose legislation to harmonise the various systems of testing and marking precious metals in the member states and to make assaying compulsory.
It will nonetheless be necessary at some stage to establish a common regime for precious metals in the European Community and I believe that it is essential for the effective functioning of the single market and for consumer protection purposes that some form of compulsory marking of precious metals is retained. It will be our objective to ensure this in any future consideration of this matter within the European Community.