30th May 2022

‘Clarification needed’ on imperial

CTSI is warning that a return to imperial measures could lead to confusion among consumers and businesses.


By JTS Staff
Journal of Trading Standards' in-house team
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It is really important that any proposed measures don’t bamboozle the public on value for money and the prices of everyday items, or add unnecessary costs and confusion to business

CTSI has voiced its concern that the UK Government intends to conduct a review to assess opportunities for the reintroduction of imperial measurements.

The Institute has previously called for an impact assessment when proposals for the reintroduction first came to light in September 2021. Many of CTSI’s members, particularly those who work on weights and measures (metrology) issues, are concerned about potential pitfalls of any planned reintroduction, such as confusing consumers who have only ever been taught in metric or increasing costs to business ensuring that there is sufficient equipment available to monitor Imperial Measurements.

CTSI Chief Executive, John Herriman, said: “We have been expecting an announcement from the UK Government on consulting about the reintroduction of imperial measures, and whilst the full details have not yet been released, we would naturally expect there to be a full impact assessment.

“CTSI understands the need for choice amongst consumers and business, but the true impact of any proposed changes needs to be fully understood to ensure there are real tangible benefits. We understand the desire to create a feel-good factor, especially during a time of many profound economic challenges. However, at a time when consumers and businesses are already feeling the pinch from higher prices and inflation, it is really important that any proposed measures don’t bamboozle the public on value for money and the prices of everyday items, or add unnecessary costs and confusion to business.

“The reintroduction of imperial measures would require significant and sustainable investment into metrology, additions to the national curriculum, and a campaign to educate the general public. At a time when the vast majority of the rest of the world is working in metric it would also seem counter-intuitive to move back to imperial measures as, post-EU exit, we trade with a greater number of international countries as Global Britain.

“We therefore look forward to providing a full and measured response to the UK Government’s review.”

 

 

4 responses to “‘Clarification needed’ on imperial”

  1. M Jobson says:

    Apart from the fact that a number of (particularly Market) traders have continued using imperial weights and measures since metrication, to go back to imperial weights and measure would just lead to confusion as well as the expense to local authorities having to re-purchase imperial working and local standards and equipment. Not to mention inspectors having to carry both sets of equipment when out on inspections. And to-day’s young adults have been brought up with the metric system, so they would have to learn the archaic ‘old’ system. Pointless.

  2. Norman Steed says:

    This says it all.
    Absolutely spot on .

  3. Janice Uttley says:

    Is Imperial equipment available any more for traders to Use? It will be expensive for manufacturers to make machines for a limited market. I am retired now but well remember trying to explain to a market trader that I was not making him a ‘metric martyr’ and objecting to his dual priced displays, even if the prominence was the wrong way around! My objection was to his weighing machine. A machine originally stamped in metric but illegally converted to decimal imperial. (A system which had been illegal since at least since the 1875 act!).

  4. David Blackmore says:

    “We understand the desire to create a feel-good factor, especially during a time of many profound economic challenges”; well, it might make purchasers of loose goods by weight initially think they are getting it at half price, until they realise of course they are paying exactly the same, so the feel good factor won’t last very long. Are we then going to prosecute traders who sell in metric??

    After all we have gone through to introduce Metric; To allow imperial measures would be completely pointless, confusing and expensive.

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