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Volume 201: debated on Friday 20 December 1991

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To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry whether he has any plans to implement section 43 of the Weights and Measures Act 1985.

I have fought hard in Europe to retain the traditional British pint. I want to ensure that a liquid pint is what consumers get, in full. My view on consumer protection is that people should get what they think they are getting and what they pay for.In 1988 my Department made regulations on the measures to be used for serving beer with the aim of encouraging licensees to use the glass most appropriate to the type of beer they served and to help ensure a fair deal for the consumer. However, since then I have continued to receive reports from local authority trading standards departments showing that a significant proportion of the draught beer they have checked comprised considerably less than a pint of liquid beer. I have also received complaints from the public about this issue.

Accordingly, I now propose to implement section 43 of the Weights and Measures Act 1985 which provides that, in ascertaining the quantity of beer or cider under the Act the gas comprised in any form shall be disregarded. I shall be consulting consumers, the trade and the enforcement authorities about a timetable for this. This should be cheering news for beer drinkers everywhere.