Govt pays for 'ludicrous' study on benefits of reintroducing imperial units after Brexit

23 February 2022, 15:42 | Updated: 23 February 2022, 16:16

Business minister Paul Scully said it was "an important step in taking back control"
Business minister Paul Scully said it was "an important step in taking back control". Picture: Alamy

By Megan Hinton

The Government has commissioned a study into the "economic benefits" of reintroducing imperial units of measurement after Brexit.

Dependent on the outcome of the study, metric units of measurement such as centimetres, kilograms and litres could be scrapped.

The investigation will be overseen by the business department, alongside Minister for Brexit opportunities Jacob Rees-Mogg who is tasked with looking at how Britain might benefit from leaving the EU.

The move comes after Boris Johnson said in 2019, that measuring in pounds and ounces was "ancient liberty" and promised to usher in a new "era of generosity and tolerance towards traditional measurements".

The traditional system of measurements was used almost exclusively in Great Britain from 1824 but was phased out when the UK joined the European common market in the early 1970s.

On February 15, 1971, nicknamed "decimal day" Edward Heath’s government formally abolished the old coinage that had served for ­generations, replacing it with a new ­decimal system in line with the metric system.

Out went the shilling, the half-crown and the sixpence and in came pounds and pence which wa said to cause chaos across the UK.

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In European countries under the metric system, weight is typically measured using kilograms, made up of 1,000 grams where as the Imperial system uses stone, made up of 14 with 16 ounces in a pound and then 256 drachms to the pound.

The study was branded a "ludicrous" "waste of taxpayer money" by Sarah Olney.

The Lib Dem business spokesperson said: "Instead of wasting taxpayer money on looking to bring back imperial measurements, the government should be focusing on the real issues affecting businesses, like the miles of queues at our ports and the reams of red tape thrown up by Boris Johnson’s shambolic EU trade deal."

But Paul Scully, Conservative Business Minister, said it was "an important step in taking back control" after Brexit.

"We are reviewing the EU ban on the use of imperial units for markings so that businesses have more choice over the measures they use," he said.

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"The assessment of the economic impact on business will be carried out in due course," he added.

Britain currently uses a mix of both imperial and metric rather than exclusively using one with speed limits in imperial miles per hour rather than kilometres per house and milk and beer brought in pints.

But in school children are taught strictly metric measurements during math's lessons as uses tens, hundreds, and thousands, which are less complicated than dealing with irregular units.