Pounds and ounces could make a return to your local greengrocer and butcher under a change to EU rules after Brexit – but Labour branded it a distraction from benefit cuts
Image: McClellan John)
Tory ministers are using Brexit to “capitalise on new freedoms” – by bringing back imperial measurements in shops.
Pounds and ounces are set to return to your local greengrocers after a 26-year battle by ‘metric martyrs’ if the plans get the go-ahead.
The government announced the UK will “review the EU ban on markings and sales in imperial units” – and pass a law to change the rules.
Despite the government announcement, imperial units such as pounds and ounces are not actually banned.
But since 1995, shops have had to show metric units by law, and cannot show the imperial unit more prominently than its metric equivalent.
Under a similar change, the government will allow the Crown Stamp to be placed “voluntarily” on pint glasses instead of CE markings.
Lord Frost, Boris Johnson ’s Brexit chief, said: “We now have the opportunity to do things differently and ensure that Brexit freedoms are used to help businesses and citizens get on and succeed.
“Today’s announcement is just the beginning. The Government will go further and faster to create a competitive, high-standards regulatory environment which supports innovation and growth across the UK as we build back better from the pandemic”
But Labour ’s deputy leader Angela Rayner said: “My constituents are bothering about losing 20 quid a week from their Universal Credit not twenty ounces or twenty pounds.
“How out of touch can you be to care more about the measurements in shops than whether working people can afford their weekly shop and put food on the table.”
Dragon’s Den star Deborah Meaden added: The only people insecure enough to embrace the re introduction of the imperial weights and measures are going to be deeply disappointed to find out it was based on the Romans and a collection of other foreign and Anglo Saxon systems..but that’s globalism for you. #littleengland ”
The move came as Brexit minister Lord Frost set out plans to ditch Brussels’ rules and claimed “gloom-mongers” have been proved wrong following the UK’s departure from the European Union.
The Government intends to review the content of retained EU law – which was preserved in UK law for continuity after the transition period ended in December 2020.
Lord Frost’s comments came despite ongoing uncertainty over Northern Ireland’s trading arrangements and shortages in shops across the UK, which critics say Brexit has exacerbated.
In the Commons, the shadow international trade secretary, Emily Thornberry, was scathing about what she sarcastically described as “the marvellous Brexit deal which is working so well at present”.
She said the country “faces continuing shortages of staff and supplies exacerbated by the Government’s Brexit deal, while businesses across the country face mounting loses in trade with Europe”.
In Northern Ireland people “remain stuck in limbo as the Government refuses to implement the Brexit deal that they negotiated,” she said.
“Into all of that along comes the new Paymaster General to talk about all the wonderful opportunities that await us because of the marvellous Brexit deal which is working so well at present.”
No10 said the announcement was “one small part of a wide-ranging” project and could not immediately say how long the review will take.
Asked if the PM uses pounds or kilos his spokesman replied: “I haven’t asked him”.
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