Government asks if hallmarking should be scrapped

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Industry asked for feedback as part of Red Tape Challenge.

Hallmarking has been caught up in the Government’s review of red tape and it is currently asking whether the practice that identifies precious metals should “be scrapped altogether”.

As part of a focus on the retail industry, the Red Tape Challenge review, which aims to cut down the amount of regulations that businesses have to adhere to, is focusing on hallmarking and whether it is necessary. It is asking for feedback from the public on whether hallmarking should be scrapped, can be merged with existing regulations, can be simplified, how it can be made better or whether hallmarking regulations should be left as they are.

Members of the trade have already started to get involved with most asking for hallmarking to be left alone or to be tweaked slightly.

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F Hinds director Andrew Hinds is one of the first to have commented on the site. He said: “There may well be scope for simplification. However, this [is] one of the regulations we have to work under which we strongly favour as we believe that the amount of due diligence work we would have to undertake in their absence would be a significantly greater burden than the current situation.”

All views must be made known by May 5 and the Birmingham Assay Office is warning that if the trade fails to make a case for hallmarking then it could be scrapped by default. 

Birmingham Assay Office chief executive Michael Allchin said: “The message from the Government appears to be that every regulation highlighted will be abolished – unless visitors to the website express sufficient good reasons to convince ministers that this particular regulation must be kept. We believe it is imperative to the British consumer for the current and future UK jewellery industry to maintain hallmarking as a statutory independent service.”

This is something, however, that the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills is denying. Press officer Nick Evans said: "We are committed to being the first government in modern history to leave office having reduced the overall burden of regulation, not increased it. A vital part of helping us do that is the Red Tape Challenge website where we are asking the public to tell us what they think about all 21,000 regulations that are on the statute book. Some of these regulations will be vital to protect consumers or employees, but others will be badly enforced or just plain obsolete; putting an unnecessary burden on the businesses that should be focusing on growing their businesses."

Evans said that once all the feedback has been collated from the site, it will be passed on to Government ministers who will have three months to review the case for each piece of legislation. He added that ministers might seek further information from members of the trade at this stage, particularly those who have left comments on the website. 

He said: "We want to hear from everyone, whether you think that a regulation is well designed and provides vital protection, such as Hallmarking rules, or if you think that a regulation is badly designed, badly implemented or simply a bad idea. The Red Tape Challenge website is a powerful new tool for the public to have their say about red tape and thousands of people have already taken part. "

You can give the Government your views by visiting redtapechallenge.cabinetoffice.gov.uk/hallmarking, where you will be asked to write a comment containing your views.
 

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