HC Deb 21 May 1957 vol 570 cc1022-3
30. Mr. Owen

asked the President of the Board of Trade if he will give details of United Kingdom legislation authorising the use of the metric system; what information he has about the extent to which this system has been adopted; and whether the Government will now consider the system as a desirable urgency in view of the prospects of a European common market and free trade area.

The Parliamentary Secretary to the Board of Trade (Mr. F. J. Erroll)

The Weights and Measures (Metric System) Act, 1897, enables metric units to be used for nearly all goods. They are used for trade in this country by the diamond and wholesale pharmaceutical industries and they are widely used in the export trade. I dealt with the last part of the Question in my Answers to the hon. Member for Brixton (Mr. Lipton) on 16th May.

Mr. Owen

Is the Minister aware that, with the prospect before us of the development of a Common Market and a Free Trade area, and the expansion of Britain's interests in colonial development, there is now an opportunity for the Government to re-examine this whole question of the introduction of the metric system, which surely will be commendable to trading interests at home and will certainly be of general value to consumers abroad?

Mr. Erroll

As I said last week, the Government are not prepared to consider now the introduction of the metric system, but we are keeping a careful note of all arguments, such as that put forward by the hon. Gentleman, at the present time.