Government reviews EU ban on pounds and ounces – here's what market traders say

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Market traders have given a cautious welcome to the possible return of pounds and ounces – but fear it could cause confusion for some shoppers.

The Government recently announced plans to ‘review the EU ban on markings and sales in imperial units’ and introduce legislation. Ministers say changes wouldn’t have been possible without Brexit.

It would mean shops and traders would be able to sell products in imperial units again.

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At Longton market, there was support for the proposals.

Jo Finney has owned K&L Fruit and Veg stand in the market for the past four years. The 55-year-old, from Trentham, said: “I am old school – I prefer imperial measurements.

“A lot of our older customers prefer it too. However, our younger customers don’t know what it is.”

James Ede, from Ede Family Butchers, has operated his stall for 10 years.

The 43-year-old said: “It does not make much difference to me. I think we should stay as we are. It will just confuse people.

James Ede of Ede Family Butchers

“I have always used kilos. I have never used pounds or ounces. It wouldn’t bother me, though. I can work it out with my scales.”

Some traders believe the older generation are now getting used to metric measurements – decades after they were first introduced.

Greg Shenton owns 100-year strong fourth generation company, Shenton’s Family Butchers, which has operated from Longton market for the past 35 years.

The 53-year-old said: “Older people are getting used to it being in kilos. Its been a while since it went to kilos.

“I still get the odd customers who ask for it in pounds, but they are in the minority.

“If they can see a sign which says you can get two steaks for £8, it’s there in black and white and they know what they’re getting, which is easier.”

Longton Market

Sharon Warburton, aged 51, is the third generation to own Sharon’s Traditional Cheese and Eggs, which she operates with her mother.

They sell products in both pounds and kilos, as many customers ask for their cheese in imperial units.

Sharon said: “We do both anyway. To me, it does not make any difference – I was brought up with it.

“I like selling in pounds, but when we have to convert it into kilos we do it on the scales. The majority of people ask for their products in pounds.

“People will ask for a pound or half-a-pound and there aren’t many who ask for products in kilos.”

Karen Barnett has owned Barnett’s Cooked Meats at the market for 35 years, and has raised concerns about the cost of moving back to imperial measurements.

The 63-year-old said: “We would have to get the machines recalibrated and it would be expensive.

“People do ask for things in pounds and ounces. They still ask for two slices or a pound.

“I get the odd one or two who ask for it in kilos, but not many. Whenever I go shopping, I ask for it in pounds and ounces.

“If we go back to it, it’s the machines. It’s the cost of it again – someone will make a quick buck here.”

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