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Volume 408: debated on Thursday 3 July 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what representations she has received on (a) the future of the Scottish hallmark and (b) its importance to Scottish industry; and if she will make a statement. [114326]

I am aware of the representations being made by the Incorporation of Goldsmiths of the City of Edinburgh about the future of Scotland's Assay Office and my hon. Friend's recent adjournment debate on this subject. The importance of a distinct Scottish Hallmark is indisputable, and my predecessor wrote to the Minister for Competition, Consumers and Markets to express her own concerns on this matter. I have also received a letter from a Member of Parliament on this subject.