Boris Johnson ‘paving the way for increased use of imperial measurements’

The Prime Minister reportedly wants to make an announcement on Friday to coincide with the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee.

28 May 2022

Boris Johnson is set to make an announcement that could pave the way for increased use of imperial measurements after the UK’s break with the European Union, reports have said.

The UK Government is preparing to open a consultation into how to further incorporate imperial measurements in Britain, the PA news agency understands.

According to the Sunday Mirror, the Prime Minister wants to make the announcement on Friday to coincide with the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee.

The newspaper said Downing Street hopes the move could shore up support in Leave-voting areas after Conservative polling took a hit amid revelations about lockdown-busting parties at No 10.

Traders could choose to switch to incorporating the use of imperial measurements such as pints, according to reports
Traders could choose to switch to imperial measurements (Stefan Rousseau/PA)

The EU weights and measures directive came into force in 2000, with traders legally required to use metric units for sale-by-weight or the measure of fresh produce.

It remains legal to price goods in pounds and ounces but they have to be displayed alongside the price in grammes and kilogrammes.

PA has been told there will not be a move away from metric units but the consultation will look at where it makes sense to incorporate or switch to imperial measurements such as feet and yards, and pints and gallons.

The Sunday Mirror said traders are likely to be free to choose which they use.

It is part of a wider effort in Whitehall to review what EU regulations remain on the UK’s statute books after Brexit.

The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy is understood to be co-ordinating the consultation.

Before a looser interpretation of the EU’s directive was introduced, some shop owners were prosecuted for failing to adhere to the Brussels stipulations, becoming known in the press as the “metric martyrs”.

The UK currently uses a mix of imperial and metric, with speed limits in miles per hour rather than kilometres, and milk and beer bought in pints.

Food packaging in supermarkets is mainly labelled in grammes, while most soft drinks and other liquids on shop shelves are sold in litres.


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