HC Deb 20 May 1974 vol 874 cc20-1
17 . Mr. Redmond

asked the Secretary of State for Prices and Consumer Protection if she will make a statement of Government policy regarding metrication.

13. Mr. Moate

asked the Secretary of State for Prices and Consumer Protection if she intends to proceed with the metrication of food.

Mr. Alan Williams

Metrication of industry, including those parts of industry which directly serve the consumer, is continuing. I assure hon. Members that I shall keep the needs of the consumer very much in mind during this change.

Mr. Redmond

Will the Minister assure the House that the Government have absolutely no intention of going beyond the terms of the White Paper on metrication published in 1972? While he is at it, will he draw the attention of the Metrication Board to the fact that one of its principal arguments has been shot from under it by the almost unanimous vote of the United States Congress that America will not go metric and is remaining on imperial standards?

Mr. Williams

I am aware of the American decision. There is no certainty that it will be a final decision. Use of metric measurements and weights has been legal in America for over 100 years. Our policy remains unchanged.

Mr. Biffen

The Minister gave me an answer recently indicating that the metrication of sugar was under review. Is he aware that housewives have enough to put up with, without the added insult of having compulsorily to buy metricated sugar?

Mr. Williams

Many housewives in weeks not so long ago would have been happy if they could have bought metric sugar, because there was a scarcity of sugar in non-metric packs. We are considering the application for an order in relation to sugar. The previous Government had it under consideration for a considerable time. The hon. Gentleman will bear in mind the requirement of the Common Market. He will know that by 1976 we have to allow metric packs into this country.