§ Mr. Mitchell
To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry, pursuant to his answer of 19 October 1998,Official Report, columns 1048–49, on silver, if imported silver will be permitted to be submitted to assay offices for the lion stamp; and what the legal and commercial status of the lion stamp will be. 
§ Dr. Howells
It is proposed that, following amendment of the Hallmarking Act 1973, articles made of imported silver which are submitted to United Kingdom Assay Offices could be struck with the lion symbol. However, only those articles which met the same standards required of products made in the UK could be struck with the lion symbol or any of the other traditional pictorial symbols. The legal status of the lion symbol will remain unchanged in that it will continue to indicate a specific standard of fineness (sterling) for articles made of silver. Since the standards applicable to such articles will remain unchanged after the implementation of the amendments to the Act, I do not consider that the status of the lion symbol will be in any way diminished.