Hallmarking survives Red Tape Challenge

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Business minister says feedback from industry was vital.

Hallmarking has survived scrutiny from the government as part of its Red Tape Challenge and is now no longer in danger of being scrapped.

The jewellery consumer protection measure had been under threat as the government sought out areas of legislation to reduce administration procedures that have become barriers to trade.

The inclusion of hallmarking in the Red Tape Challenge incited outrage from the British jewellery industry and led to BJA chief executive Simon Rainer, NAG chief executive Michael Hoare, Houlden boss Stuart Laing, CMJ chief executive Willie Hamilton and National Pawnbrokers Association chief executive Des Milligan writing to prime minister David Cameron and business secretary Vince Cable to campaign against the move.

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Coverage of the story on professionaljeweller.com led to a raft of comments from members of the trade and a website set up by The Red Tape Challenge received more than 6,000 comments from industry bodies giving their thoughts on how the trade would be affected by the scrapping of hallmarking.

Hallmarking was part of a wider Red Tape Challenge into the retail sector and while hallmarking has come out the other side unscathed, two thirds of the issues raised in the review will now be simplified, improved or abolished.

Minister for business and enterprise Mark Prisk said that the huge response from the jewellery industry was partly responsible for the survival of hallmarking. He said: “We’ve listened to what people have said about the confusing and overlapping rules with the aim to get rid of the ones we don’t need and making the ones we do simpler to understand and put into practice. At the same time though we are preserving good regulation, such as the hallmarking regime, for which there was strong support.”

Responding to the news, Michael Allchin, chief executive of the Birmingham Assay Office, said that his office was "extremely pleased that the outcome of the Red Tape Challenge has endorsed our rigorous independent regime" and expressed his gratitude to the jewellery industry for taking the time to voice concerns about the potential scrapping of hallmarking.

He added: "When The Birmingham Assay Office began its campaign to alert the trade to the Red Tape Challenge, our prime concern was that hallmarking should not be abolished by default because no one bothered to reply. In the end the level and quality of the response was overwhelming and gratifying.

"We are strong believers in the trade working together for its own good and the unprecedented joint response from the trade associations and major buying groups carried significant weight. This was further reinforced by literally thousands of comments from individual retailers, makers, designers, politicians and consumers whose combined views ensured that hallmarking was not abolished. We appreciate the support from all those who took time to submit their views to the Red Tape Challenge.”
 

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