In these uncertain times, the spending power of the pound in our pockets seems to be decreasing by the day, making it high time, in my view, to end the Great Imperial Rip-Off, and save British consumers from the cost of maintaining imperial weights and measures.
Contrary to common myth, propagated by the opponents of change, retaining imperial measurements actually costs every one of us money, money which I for one would rather spend on something rather more useful.
Think the cost of motoring is too high in the UK? Part of the reason is that the UK has a unique specification for speedometers and odometers, which costs the industry millions of pounds each year. Do the motor manufacturers each subsidise the cost of the UK dashboards? Of course not, the costs are passed on to the British consumer , meaning cars in the UK are more expensive than they are in our neighbouring countries. If the UK changed to km/h, those savings would be passed onto British motorists.
Of course, you can always import a car or motorbike from abroad to save money, and 40,000 of us do each year. But if you do it’ll cost you anywhere from £100 to £300 to change your speedometer to show MPH. At an average of £200 apiece, that adds up to a whopping £8 million from the pockets of British motorists every single year, which is more than it cost Ireland to change every single one of their speed limit signs to km/h in 2005.
Another money-saving tip in these inflationary times is to shop around, and make sure that you check the price of your food before you buy. Of course, that is easier said than done in Britain, because large retailers and reputable small retailers price and weigh groceries by the kilogram. But not everyone plays fairly; some rogue traders, especially in markets, continue to price by the pound, and weigh produce using scales which cannot be checked by Trading Standards officers.
Some councils actively clamp down on such behaviour, but not all; some are turning a blind eye to these unfair practices and allowing their rogue traders to mislead their consumers. It is high time that British consumers were treated to some support from those paid to protect their interests in the marketplace, and if your council is ignoring its legal duty to protect you, write to them and let them know that they are doing their residents a great disservice.
These are just some of the ways that imperial costs the consumer money directly. There are many financial benefits to the state of other metric reforms, such as:
- the cost of road traffic accidents caused by misunderstanding our imperial signs by foreign drivers;
- the costs to the education services of having to teach children two sets of measures, and conversions between them, when one logical system should be plenty;
- the time spent â?? and the potential for mistakes â?? when NHS staff dumb down patientsâ?? weights to imperial measures for the patient, and then have to convert back to metric for their own use. Why not just encourage patients to remember kilograms?
It’s about time we saved ourselves these costs, and the government stopped taking money from our shrinking wallets to indulge those who would prefer we turned the clock back to the 1950s.