Finance

Get rid of ‘European’ kilograms: Britons will soon weigh pounds and ounces again

Johnson thinks it’s a fantastic step forward, although opposition Labor party says the prime minister “doesn’t have his priorities in order”. “How disconnected from reality can you be,” deputy Labor leader Angela Rayner wondered, “if you’re more concerned about the price tags of groceries, than whether ordinary people can afford their groceries.”

Kilos and liters

In the European internal market, products have to meet the same requirements everywhere, and that also applies to things like the price tag and sizes and weights. Mandarins must be sold at a price per kilo and beer at a price per litre. That has been troubling the British for years, who have used the Imperial system of pounds, ounces and pints for hundreds of years.

A group of shopkeepers even let it come to a lawsuit in 2001, which they lost. In the British press they were then referred to as the Metric Martyrs, the ‘Metric Martyrs’.

Next to each other

After years of haggling, Brussels allowed British retailers to list both units side by side on the price tag, as long as the European metric system was printed at least as big as the price per pound.

But this rule also became an important symbol during the Brexit campaign as an example for the meddling from Brussels. It was Johnson himself who, in 2019, when he wanted to become party leader and prime minister, vowed to “take back this old freedom”.

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