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The UK Weighing Federation

Imperial measures will bring no benefits for UK businesses and consumers

31st May 2022

If the Government intends to bring back Imperial measurements for use in the UK, this will bring large and unnecessary costs for the weighing industry, the retailers it supplies, and in turn consumers in the UK.

The UK Weighing Federation believes it makes no sense to revert to using Imperial measurements, whether on a voluntary basis or not. All weighing scales used for commercial purposes in the UK must be approved for weighing in metric units, which means you are very unlikely to find any scales in the UK that weigh in pounds and ounces and can be legally used.

Furthermore, weighing equipment in the UK currently hasn’t been designed to convert from metric to imperial, so businesses - specifically retailers - will need to buy new weighing scales, along with the supporting software, to be able to measure in pounds and ounces and then seek costly re-approvals. This will bring huge additional costs to shops and supermarkets, some of which could be passed onto the consumer.

In addition, reverting to Imperial measurements will need a considerable level of investment from UK weighing companies in order to source or develop instruments that can be legally used to weigh in pounds and ounces. If the Government makes this a voluntary option, it’s unlikely weighing companies will see the required demand to invest, and as such, equipment may not be readily available in the UK. 

The UKWF believes there are no proven benefits to allowing the use of Imperial measurements. With only three countries worldwide currently opting to use them, reverting in the UK will not bring any additional benefits – financial or otherwise - for trade with the rest of the world. In fact, it will have the opposite effect, creating uncertainty, inefficiencies, and additional costs, at a time when many in the UK are already under financial strain.

The UK Weighing Federation is the trade association for weighing companies in the UK. It represents more than 66 UK companies, that have a total of 3,000 employees, and a collective turnover of nearly £300M.

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