HC Deb 17 December 1979 vol 976 cc25-6
27. Mr. John Patten

asked the Secretary of State for Trade if he will take steps if petrol is sold in metric quantities to ensure that consumers are able to make a meaningful price comparison between imperial and metric quantities.

Mrs. Sally Oppenheim

I propose to vary the existing provisions of the Petrol Prices (Display) Order 1978 so that where petrol is sold by the litre the equivalent price per gallon must also be clearly indicated. Consultations with the trade and with motoring interests will be opened shortly.

Mr. Patten

I thank my right hon. Friend for that assurance. May I ask her to assure the House that confusion for the consumer, which might be caused in the future, will be kept to a minimum not only in this respect but in all areas where imperial and metric measures overlap?

Mrs. Oppenheim

I am concerned on two counts. The first is that there should be fair competition. The second is that the motorist should be in no doubt about the value that he is getting for his money, whether garages are selling in imperial or in metric quantities. This is true of all other areas in which the problem arises.

Mr. Adley

Will my right hon. Friend have a word with the Post Office to see whether it will continue to quote parcel prices in pounds and ounces as well as in kilograms?

Mrs. Oppenheim

My hon. Friend will not be surprised to learn that I have already had such words with the Post Office. There is no statutory requirement for it not to do so.