Weights and Measures (Metrication Amendments) Regulations 2001
Lord Willoughby de Broke (Conservative)
My Lords, I give an example which I hope may be helpful to your Lordships to demonstrate why this matter is so infuriating to those of us who support the Motion of the noble Baroness, Lady Miller of Hendon. It is all about subsidiarity. It is a living example of subsidiarity in your Lordships' House. I enjoy going to the Refreshment Department to order my steak for lunch and dinner. Only comparatively recently, to my horror, I found that the steak was described as weighing 200 grams.
In most London restaurants the steaks are described as weighing eight ounces. We all know what an eight ounce steak is; it is an edible size of steak. We can picture an eight ounce steak in our mind when we order it. But for some reason it is now described as weighing 200 grams. Who has any idea what a 200 gram steak looks like?
I took the liberty of writing to my noble friend Lord Colwyn who is chairman of the Refreshment Sub-Committee. Sadly, he is not present at the moment. However, I saw him coming in so perhaps he will read Hansard. I asked him why it was necessary to have the steak uniquely described in grams. Like other noble Lords, I have no objection to dual marking but we do not have the choice. The figure is given just as 200 grams, whatever that may mean.
I did not receive a satisfactory answer from my noble friend Lord Colwyn. Therefore I wrote--I shall not say higher up as one can hardly get higher than the chairman of the Refreshment Sub-Committee--to Mr Edward Ollard. He informed me that it was a requirement that purchases should be conducted in metric measures and that that was far more convenient for what the noble Lord, Lord Phillips, called the managerial mindset. That may be the case for people buying in metric measures. But why cannot we have both measures? Why cannot we have eight ounces? If a product happens to be 233 grams, it can be marked eight ounces or 233 grams. Why is it just marked 200 grams? Incidentally--