UK plans to relaunch the traditional system of imperial measurements, including pounds and ounces, are ‘complete and utter nonsense’ at a hugely difficult time for the industry, a retail leader has said .
- The UK government wants businesses to be allowed to sell goods using measures other than the metric system
- The country was forced to adopt the metric system while it was a member of the European Union
- ASDA supermarket chairman says government isn’t focusing on retailers’ real issues
Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s government has proposed changes to the Weights and Other Measures Act in what it said was a post-Brexit benefit to give businesses greater choice over how they sell their products.
But the move has angered businesses struggling with soaring costs and sparked criticism that the government would rather be nostalgic than find solutions to modern problems that threaten the standard of living of millions of people.
Stuart Rose, chairman of supermarket chain Asda, told Times Radio that the proposal ignored key issues faced by retailers in the UK.
“I have never heard such nonsense in my life,” he said.
“We have serious problems in the world and we are now saying that we have to go back?
A consultation will determine whether vegetables should be sold in pounds only or in pounds with a lesser metric equivalent.
The government has said businesses will not be forced to revert to the old measures, meaning there will be no additional costs.
“While we think of our fruit and vegetables by the pound, the legacy of EU rules means we must legally sell them by the kilo,” said Business Secretary Paul Scully.
Britain is overhauling thousands of rules after leaving the European Union in 2020.
While the bloc normally requires members to use the metric system, Britain has been allowed to use some imperial units alongside metric units.
Speed limits were set in miles per hour when they were EU members, and milk and beer are sold in pints.
Inflation hit a 40-year high of 9% in April and is expected to rise further, while government forecasts last month showed living standards were set to fall to their biggest drop since records began at the end of the 1950s.