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House of Commons Hansard
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23 March 1978
Volume 946

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asked the Secretary of State for Prices and Consumer Protection whether he will give details of the parties and organisations that he has seen regarding the introduction of metric food weights by 1981, and for metric measures for textiles and floor coverings by February 1979; to what extent there were objections offered by parties and organisations; and what discussions he had with hon. Members and parliamentary groups on these matters.

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The organisations listed below were consulted on these orders. During the course of consultations representations were received about the proposed timing of the metric changeover in respect of textiles and floor coverings. These were accepted and the order as drafted now satisfies the interests concerned. I myself have seen, at various times, the National Consumer Council and the Retail Consortium. I had extensive discussions with hon. Members and parliamentary groups during the passage of the Weights and Measures Act 1976 these were followed-up by my Department's report to Parliament in April 1977 which anticipated these orders.I also invited the hon. Member for Newham, North-West to discuss the progress of metrication at the Department of Prices and Consumer Protection.Organisations consulted

  • The Hardware Manufacturers Association.
  • British Hardware Federation.
  • National Institute of Hardware.
  • Drapers Chamber of Trade.
  • Association of Wholesale Woollen Merchants.
  • Scottish Retail Drapers Association.
  • Scottish House Furnishers Association.
  • Textile Distributors Association.
  • Wholesale Floor-coverings Distributors Association.
  • Mail Order Traders of Great Britain.
  • Retail Fruit Trade Federation.
  • Federation of British Port Wholesale Fish Merchants Associations.
  • UK Association of Frozen Food Producers.
  • Multiple Food and Drink Retailers Association.
  • National Federation of Meat Traders.
  • Scottish Federation of Meat Traders Association.
  • National Association of Health Stores.
  • National Market Traders Association.
  • North of Ireland Grocers' Association.
  • National Federation of Fishmongers.
  • National Federation of Wholesale Grocers and Provision Merchants.
  • Bacon and Meat Manufacturers Association
  • Food Traders Metrication Liaison Committee.
  • National Wholesale Meat Salesmen of Scotland.
  • The Association of Scottish Bacon Curers.
  • Scottish Association of Sausage and Cooked Meat Manufacturers.
  • Federation of Fresh Meat Wholesalers.
  • Association of British Abattoir Workers Ltd.
  • Produce Packaging and Marketing Association.
  • Dairy Trade Federation.
  • National Food and Drinks Federation.
  • Association of Butter Blenders and Cheese Packers.
  • Distributive Marketing Services Ltd.
  • Confederation of British Industry.
  • Royal Arsenal Co-operative Society.
  • Trade Union Congress.
  • John Lewis Partnership.
  • Co-operative Wholesale Society.
  • Association of British Chambers of Commerce.
  • Co-operative Union Limited.
  • Federation of Wholesale Organisations.
  • London Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
  • Multiple Shops Federation.
  • National Chamber of Trade.
  • Retail Consortium.
  • Retail Trading Standards Association.
  • Council for Small Industries in Rural Areas.
  • Scottish Retail Federation.
  • National Federation of Scale and Weighing Machine Manufacturers.
  • Retail Alliance.
  • Retail Distributors Association.
  • National Union of Small Shopkeepers of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.
  • National Alliance of Private Traders.
  • Associated Independent Stores.
  • Age Concern.
  • Consumers' Association.
  • British Standards Institution.
  • Co-operative Women's Guild.
  • Good Housekeeping Institute.
  • National Association of Women's Clubs.
  • National Association of Citizens Advice Bureaux.
  • National Consumer Council.
  • National Consumer Protection Council.
  • The National Council of Women of Great Britain.
  • National Federation of Consumer Groups.
  • National Federation of Women's Institutes.
  • National Union of Townswomen's Guilds.
  • Scottish Consumer Council.
  • Scottish Co-operative Women's Guild.
  • Scottish Women's Rural Institute.
  • Women's National Commission.
  • James Butcher Housing Association Ltd. (Dame Elizabeth Ackroyd).
  • Welsh Consumer Council.
  • Office of Fair Trading.
  • National Council of Social Services.
  • Northern Ireland Housewives' League.
  • Scottish Council of Women's Citizen's Association.
  • Soroptimists International of Great Britain and Ireland.
  • UK Federation of Business and Professional Women.
  • National Housewives Association.
  • British Union of Family Organisations
  • Consumer Affairs Group of National Organisations.
  • Help the Aged.
  • Electrical Association for Women.
  • Federation of Women's Institutes of Northern Ireland.
  • Association of County Councils.
  • Association of District Councils.
  • Association of Metropolitan Authorities.
  • London Boroughs Association.
  • Convention of Scottish Local Authorities.
  • Local Authorities Joint Advisory Committee.
  • Executive Councils Association.
  • Institute of Trading Standards Administration.
  • Metrication Board.
  • Northern Ireland Department of Commerce.
  • Weights and Measures Department Guernsey.
  • Weights and Measures Department Jersey.
  • Weights and Measures Department Isle of Man.
  • Laboratory of the Government Chemist.
  • Her Majesty's Customs and Excise.
  • Home Office.
  • Department of Energy.
  • Department of Industry.
  • Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food.

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asked the Secretary of State for Prices and Consumer Protection what organisations he has consulted pursuant to Section 54(2) of the Weights and Measures Act 1963, as amended by Section 2 of the Weights and Measures Act 1976 in connection with the subject-matter of the Weights and Measures Act 1963 (Hardware, Textiles and Floor Coverings) (Restriction on Imperial Units) Order 1978; what representations have been made to him by such organisations; and if he is satisfied that there is general support for the change to metric units from imperial units amongst consumers and trade organisations.

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I refer the hon. Member to the reply that I gave today to my hon. Friend the Member for New-ham, North-West (Mr. Lewis). I am completely satisfied that the order as drafted has the general support of consumer and retail organisations.

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asked the Secretary of State for Prices and Consumer Protection whether he will make an exception to the Weights and Measures Act 1963 (Hardware, Textiles and Floor Coverings) Order 1978 for a seller who can show that he had taken all reasonable steps to ensure the supply to him, before the relevant cut-off date, of goods measured or weighed out in metric units, but the goods had not been supplied before the date of the relevant sale.

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Since the order referred to is concerned with goods which are weighed or measured out by retailers for customers from bulk supplies, it is not important in this context whether the bulk supplies to the retailer are in imperial or metric. It is important from the consumer point of view that from the cut-off date the retailer himself measures or weighs out goods in metric and for this reason the exception suggested would, I am sure, be resisted by consumer organisations. However, the order does make provision for sellers who have been unable to obtain new weighing or measuring equipment.