Skip to main content


Volume 247: debated on Tuesday 19 July 1994

The text on this page has been created from Hansard archive content, it may contain typographical errors.

To ask the President of the Board of Trade if he will introduce legislation on phasing out the use of imperial units following the adoption of the 1989 amendment to the units of measurement directive; and if' he will make a statement.

My noble Friend Lord Strathclyde has today laid before Parliament the following instruments which implement the units of measurement directive in relation to the authorisation of units of measurement, and their use for weights and measures and price marking purposes:

the Units of Measurement Regulations 1994;
the Weights and Measures Act 1985 (Metrication) (Amendment) Order 1994;
the Weights and Measures (Metrication) (Miscellaneous Goods) (Amendment) Order 1994;
the Weights and Measures (Packaged Goods and Quantity Marking and Abbreviations of Units) (Amendment) Regulations 1994;
the Weights and Measures (Metrication Amendments) Regulations 1994; and
the Price Marking (Amendment) Order 1994.
The first three SIs have been laid in draft for approval by resolution of each House of Parliament. The last three have been made before laying and are subject to the negative resolution procedure. The legislation provides that the doorstep pint of milk and the pint of draught beer or cider in the pub will be allowed without time limit as well as the mile for road traffic signs, speedometers and odometers.For many purposes, the United Kingdom has already switched to the metric system. From 1 October 1995, almost all goods sold by quantity, including food pre-packed in variable weights such as cheese and meats that are not already traded in metric will have to be so traded. The principal exception is in respect of goods sold loose from bulk by the pound and ounce—primarily foods, such as meat, poultry, cheese, fish and fresh fruit and vegetables—which will not have to switch to metric until 1 January 2000.Retailers who price food sold loose from bulk or pre-packed in variable weights in metric during the transitional periods will be required to display a price conversion chart or to dual price items. The British retail consortium has agreed to adopt a code under which retailers will supplement this with further charts at any place where consumers select such food which is priced in metric. My Department is discussing with the trade other publicity measures.