The government announced plans to allow stores to sell products in pounds and ounces instead of using the metric system, as part of an effort to “capture new Brexit liberties.”
LONDON – The British government said it is taking steps to return to its traditional system of imperial weights and measures, allowing shops and market stalls to only label fruit and ounces in pounds and ounces instead of the metric system’s grams and kilograms. Vegetables are allowed to be sold. It was hailed as an example of the country’s new post-Brexit independence.
The plans announced by Brexit overseeing minister David Frost on Thursday were praised by Brexit supporters, many of whom argued that the switch to the metric system for decades was a sign of unwanted EU interference in daily life in Britain. Was. .
While the EU currently requires members to use only the metric system, it allowed Britain, when it was a member, to label its produce in metric units as well as imperial units. There were also exceptions for traffic signs and beer.
As part of its exit from the EU, the British government is now reviewing the thousands of EU rules it has upheld and determine whether they best serve the national interest. Those rules include an EU ban on sales in imperial units, which the British government said would legislate changes “in due course”.
Since Britain formally withdrew from the European Union on 1 January, after nearly 50 years of membership, Prime Minister Boris Johnson has touted his vision of a “global Britain” that shuns rules imposed by the 27-member bloc. Will flourish without being tied.
British officials have pointed to developments, such as changing the color of British passports from the European Union’s burgundy to Britain’s traditional blue, which was dropped in 1988 as bold and triumphant symbols of the country’s new independence.
But critics, including 48 per cent of voters who did not support Britain’s exit, have said such advances seem small and not very helpful at a time when employers are struggling to fill thousands of jobs. which are empty due to the exodus of immigrants from the European Union. Since the vote to leave the block.
Among concerns about the country’s fragile economic recovery are a number of new time-consuming and confusing processes that have made importing and exporting goods from the European Union more difficult, shortages in British supermarkets and Northern Ireland’s crackdown on unresolved trade rules. .
Still, Brexit minister Mr Frost said on Thursday that the move to the royal system would be part of wider changes Britain is making. “To capitalize on the new Brexit liberties.”
He announced his intention to introduce legislation to replace the rules, saying “the coercive rules were conceived and agreed upon in Brussels with little consideration of the national interest of Britain.” “We now have the opportunity to do things differently and ensure that Brexit freedoms are used to help businesses and citizens grow and succeed.”
Tony Bennett, a member of Active Resistance to Metric, a small group that has been pushing for England to return to its old weight and measurements for years, said it was celebrating growth.
Mr Bennett said the campaign to leave the European Union and return to imperial measure had to do with preserving what was seen as the gradual erosion of British culture and tradition.
“The system of weights and measures is an integral part of our daily lives and our written culture, our language too,” he said, citing expressions such as “an inch is as good as a mile” and “move on.” He estimates that he and his group have put stickers on thousands of signs in public parks and streets that use the metric system in England over the past two decades.
Since at least medieval times, the British have used their own set of measurements, including inches, feet, stones, miles, and acres, many of which are still used in the United States. But for decades, the British government had been pushing people to use the metric system, which was used in much of the world and was developed by decimalized metric standards during the French Revolution.
Proponents of the metric system say its use is essential for companies to compete on a global scale, as many countries use it. Enthusiasts of the metric system also point to the fact that the UK began its switch to the metric system in 1965, eight years before joining the European Union. Others said the focus was on more pressing issues such as cuts to public services.
A survey by YouGov in 2015 Among British adults, it was found that more than 60 percent of those aged 18 to 39 said they would measure shorter distances in metres, compared with less than 12 percent of those over 60 who favored the metric system. Huh.