Millennium Compliance

Oral Answers to Questions — Duchy of Lancaster – in the House of Commons at 1:47 pm on 8th July 1998.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Mr Ian Bruce Mr Ian Bruce Conservative, South Dorset 1:47 pm, 8th July 1998

If he will make a statement on the progress and cost of year 2000 compliance by Government Departments. [47926]

Photo of Dr David Clark Dr David Clark Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, Cabinet Office

My statement in the House on 8 June 1998, Official Report, column 716 gave the results of the latest quarterly review. They show that central Government are so far making good progress in achieving millennium compliance. However, we are not complacent; the review raised a number of concerns, which I have taken up with the Departments concerned. The latest estimate of the costs of millennium compliance within central Government is £402 million.

The next quarterly return is due in September. As that will fall during the recess, I propose to write to all Members during the recess to report the results. I shall also arrange for all relevant information to be placed in the Libraries of the House and on the internet.

Photo of Mr Ian Bruce Mr Ian Bruce Conservative, South Dorset

I thank the right hon. Gentleman for that answer, but can he confirm that the Government have not allocated any new money to Government Departments to tackle that problem? Can he also confirm that, despite the fact that, three months ago, the Prime Minister said that he would put new money into training 20,000 bug busters, not a single one has started a training course, let alone started work?

Photo of Dr David Clark Dr David Clark Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, Cabinet Office

Every Department of central Government was aware of the cost implications of millennium compliance, and figures for those implications were built into the estimates that we inherited from the previous Administration. In his Budget, the Chancellor of the Exchequer announced that £30 million was to be made available for the training of 20,000 bug busters. That process is on course. We have had discussions with the training agencies to ensure that the right course is made available to people. We are also discussing with small and medium companies how they can best release people for training, so that they can do their own millennium compliance. [Interruption.]

Photo of Miss Betty Boothroyd Miss Betty Boothroyd Speaker of the House of Commons

I should be obliged if conversations were not quite so loud. [HON. MEMBERS: "Hear, hear."] I see that the House agrees with me. Thank you.