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A GOVERNMENT decision to retain one of the oldest forms of consumer protection has received a strong welcome in Sheffield.

The future of hallmarking, which guarantee the purity of precious metals and products made from them, was called into doubt as part of the Government’s Red Tape Challenge review of retail regulation.

Suggestions that the system, run by the UK’s historic Assay Offices, could go, provoked a storm of comment on the Red Tape Challenge web site.

Almost 5,900 people sent comments to the website on hallmarking – the vast majority in favour of retaining the regulations.

That was more than double the next most important issue for the public, Sunday trading.

Ashley Carson, Assay Master at Sheffield Assay Office, had described the threat to hallmarking as “bizarre.”

He also warned that Britain could end up in the same state as the US, where six out of 10 items tested by the Jewellers Vigilance Association failed to reach the standards claimed for them.

Speaking after it was announced that hallmarking would stay, Mr Carson said: “I would like to thank everyone who made a comment on the Red Tape Challenge Website and it is great to see that the oldest form of consumer protection will remain unchanged.”

n This firm scales the heights of success on an almost daily basis, and then it comes back down again.

Find out how Sheffield guiding firm Jagged Globe keeps climbers coming back for more in Business Monthly on Wednesday.