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Compulsory use of metric is problematic for all types of businesses: village shopkeepers, high street stores, national companies, international exporters. BWMA's campaign to repeal compulsory metric conversion has received overwhelming support from the business community, and here some of them give the reasons why - in their own words.

Federation of Small Businesses
"Some 97% of businesses in Britain employ less than twenty people. The FSB is the country's largest representative of small businesses with 156,000 members running around 250,000 businesses. The FSB opposes compulsory metrication.

The cost of metrication is much higher than generally realised. This is because every penny spent by a firm on new metric equipment requires three times that amount to be generated in terms of turnover to make sufficient profit to cover the cost. In other words, a business will have to make sales of £3,000 before it can meet the cost of a metric weighing machine priced at £1,000. Even a relatively modest outlay such as £40 for a steel metric rule becomes expensive to afford at £120 of turnover.

There are thousands of such weighing and measuring instruments to be replaced, often fixed to walls and counters, plus pricing machines, rubber stamps, price lists, notices, signboards and advertising materials. Many business proprietors pay them selves no more than £10,000 meaning that for them, and other business people on income support, metrication could prove ruinous.

The Federation is particularly concerned with the use of criminal penalties. Why should businesses risk the threat of severe financial penalties and the stigma of criminalisation simply by quoting, pricing and trading in the imperial units customers actually prefer? Whether British shops use imperial or metric is entirely a matter for Britain under the EU principal of subsidiarity. It is of no interest to the citizens of Berlin whether people in Birmingham and Bournemouth buy goods in pounds and ounces. We ask that the government repeals compulsory metrication, thereby helping small businesses in a very real, tangible and relatively simple manner".

Letters from "London Voice" (FSB, London) Sept 2000

From BWMA:-
"May I reveal the origin and purpose of compulsory metrication [for those] who still support it.

I had extensive dealings with the arch-apostle of this policy, Commissioner Martin Bangermann, (who was forced to resign in disgrace last year) and those in charge of the relevant unit within his Industry Directorate, who explained to me that "the UK is in an anomolous position, as a full partner of the EU yet sharing a common system of weights and measures with the USA, which gives Britain an unfair competitive advantage in transatlantic trade". The response of our government, predictably, was:
'Quite right - it is monstrous that Britain enjoys this colossal cultural and commercial benefit by virtue of the common system of weights and measures that is shared with the world's superpower: clearly it must be abolished!'
So the real reason why it is now a criminal offence to sell a pound of apples is the EU's loathing and envy of the Anglo-American community. The Brussels bureaucrats could do nothing about our common language, but they could prohibit the Anglo-American system of weights and measures. The object, therefore, was not to help British trade but to penalise it. That is why we and the FSB are determined to restore freedom of choice".
Vivian Linacre, BWMA

Thomas Crapper & Co

How depressing to read such depressing letters...reggarding metrication and the EU. Such people should remember that this nation did not join the EU "of its own volition". The EU has been created by stealth accompanied by endless assurances that everything will stay the same and there is nothing to worry about!

Metrication needlessly and expensively destroys a valuable part of our identity and removes a useful advantage when trading with North America. It is true that "generations of children" have been educated in metric - at 32 I am one of them - but the reality is that they pick up feet, inches and miles after they have left school.

The EU and its apologists spend billions on propaganda and they happily 'cook the books'. For example, the EU claims that Britain exports far more to Europe than is the truth. This is done by including every cargo which briefly passes through the Netherlands' ports ON ROUTE TO THE REST OF THE WORLD.

Therefore, let us ignore the EU diktats and do what small businesses are created to do:- give the people what they want. After all, if they wanted metrication, it would have happened years ago without legal compelment.
Simon Kirby, Managing Director.

Allied Carpets
"Allied fundamentally opposes legislation compelling the use of metric weights and measures for carpets and floorings. We are against the fact that it is a criminal offence to deal in imperial units. We agree that there should be a common system of measurement, for example square yards, but are not in favour of the law stating it has to be the square metre and that everything we do, such as writing quotations, has to be metric. We agree that if we have a customer who wants something metrically, then it is down to us as retailers to provide it, but we see no justification or need for compulsory metrication backed by criminal sanctions and penalties".

National Federation of Retail Newsagents
".totally supports the proposal to repeal compulsory metrication. This legislation can only be considered as draconian in the light of many customers wishing to continue to purchase in imperial measures. For the retailer to be subject to criminal law with fines up to £5,000 for failure to comply is regulation gone mad! The NFRN supports the view that this legislation be repealed and subsidiarity in the UK be obtained for the use of imperial weights and measures".

National Association of Self-Employed
"It would seem inconceivable that a retailer can be classed as committing a criminal offence for selling, say, potatoes by the pound. Thirty years ago, retailing was a fairly simple operation. That is no longer the case in view of the complexity of the many regulations to which retailers must conform. Is there any wonder that the independent shopkeepers' numbers are dramatically reducing?"

London Chamber of Commerce and Industry
".naturally inclined towards supporting a position which advocated choice for business in metrication".

Liverpool Chamber of Commerce and Industry
".supports the Deregulation Order proposing the repeal of compulsory metrication".

Ayrshire Chamber of Commerce
".fully supports the proposal to repeal compulsory metrication.the general public on the whole still think of UK measures when making purchases".

North Derbyshire Chamber of Commerce and Industry
"The retailers of Chesterfield share [BWMA's] concerns regarding the DTI's adoption of criminal penalties, particularly since they are not required by the European Community directives. They believe the cost of enforcing the penalties would overload an already burdened criminal system and bring no tangible benefit to the fabric of British society".

Basingstoke District Chamber of Commerce
".fully supports the proposal to repeal compulsory metrication.We are very much against the increasing tide of regulation, particularly that which is being imposed upon us by Europe, and which is causing so much difficulty for our small businesses".

Cornwall Association of Village Shopkeepers
"[Compulsory metrication] is going to involve us having our equipment recalibrated to metric.quite a lot of scales will have to be replaced because they won't accept adjustments.Small stores will be forced to pay out for these scales and other equipment which will see them make no profit at all. If people are not prepared to make that kind of investment then you are going to see a lot of small village stores close.These things cost money but don't show us a return, and a lot of people will lose their freedom of choice which is a very important part of the issue".

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