Millennium Bug Watch

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The Independent Online
PARTS OF the Inland Revenue could be thrown into chaos unless officials speed up plans to deal with the "Millennium bug", the Government admitted yesterday.

Margaret Beckett, Leader of the House of Commons, conceded that work to rectify computer systems at the tax-raising department was running far too late. A PC network at the Revenue which enables officials to talk to each other about taxpayers' affairs was giving rise to particular concern, officials said.

Much to the delight of reluctant taxpayers, the deficiency could mean considerable delays in processing tax returns.

Other public-sector organisations causing concern are the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency, the Northern Ireland Office and the Medicines Control Agency, which monitors the introduction of new drugs.

In an unusual display of candour, the Government admitted that the agencies had either set unacceptably late deadlines for proofing systems against the bug or had allowed completion dates to slip.

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