Britons to keep miles and pints

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PINTS of milk on the doorstep, draught beer and cider by the pint and journeys by the mile are here to stay for an indefinite time, the Government said yesterday.

However, there will be a deadline over returnable pint containers for beer and other drinks - they will be phased out by the end of the century.

But road signs in miles will be a continuing part of the British way of life under legislation published yesterday.

Announcing the measures, Lord Strathclyde, the Minister for Consumer Affairs, said: 'The legislation provides that the doorstep pint of milk and the pint of draught beer or cider in the pub will be allowed without time limit, as well as the mile for road traffic signs, speedometers and odometers.'

The United Kingdom is exempted from European directives on many weights and measures, partly due to the reluctance of the public and traders to accept the metric system.

But that system is now commonplace, as well as being taught in schools, and it will become more so as new legislation is enacted.

The consumer affairs minister said that from 1 January 2000 the pound and ounce will disappear for goods sold loose from bulk, such as fruit, meat, cheese, fish and vegetables.

The date will also mark an end to the use of the fathom and the therm. However, the rolling acre as a unit of land and the troy ounce for transactions in precious metals will continue.

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