Computers: Gearing up for millennium bomb

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The Independent Online
Four full-time officials are working on the Department of Trade and Industry's initiative to help UK business tackle the millennium computer timebomb, Cheryl Gillan, the Tory frontbench spokeswoman, was told last night.

Mrs Gillan complained that with less than 500 working days left before the millennium, the Government had wasted precious time by abandoning its own Taskforce 2000, replacing it with Action 2000, which had yet to take any action.

Barbara Roche, the junior trade minister who has been given lead responsibility for the issue, told Mrs Gillan in a written Commons reply that a package of support for small- and medium-sized businesses would be announced this month as part of a Millennium Bug Campaign. Action 2000 has an annual budget of pounds 1m, but Mrs Gillan was told by the Ministry of Defence that its current estimate of the cost of tackling the problem was a tentative pounds 200m.