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Tuesday, 30 November, 1999, 16:43 GMT
'Millennium bug nearly beaten'
trader Most businesses believe they are Y2K ready

Most UK businesses are ready to beat the millennium bug - but some have not yet finished testing their systems, says a new report.

Bugtown UK
Some 7% of small to medium-sized companies have still not given the all-clear, according to Action 2000.

They are mainly in the hotel and restaurant, tourism and construction sectors.

It is feared the millennium bug could cause disruption to any service which uses computers, because they may be unable to recognise a year change from 1999 to 2000.

waiter Some hotels may not be ready for the bug
Public and private industries, services and organisations have been urged to try to tackle the problem in advance.

The new findings are in the latest State of the Nation report from the government-funded Action 2000.

But Don Cruickshank, head of Action 2000, said few disruptions were likely to affect the public because if one hotel could not take bookings, another nearby probably could.

The report also said 96% of big businesses had expressed a "high degree of confidence" in their supply chains and believed the UK is ready to beat the computer bug.

But companies have expressed less faith in the national infrastructure than in their suppliers.

Nearly one in ten FTSE-500 companies(the largest 500 companies listed on London's stock market) believe that essential services will not run smoothly on New Year's day.

By contrast 99% of the same companies said they expected no material disruption due to the bug.

Worldwide warning

During their work, nearly two-thirds of the companies had found problems which, if not tackled, would have caused operational failure or serious long-term damage.

"Most of these companies started work in 1997. We know that this is not true in all companies around the world," Mr Cruickshank said.

But he urged those companies still not ready not to be complacent.

"For those of us at work there will be more glitches than usual. But I am confident that will not be visible to the public at all," Mr Cruickshank said.

Meanwhile, London minister Keith Hill issued assurances about emergency services, power supplies and transport in the capital.

Mr Hill said it would be business as usual for revellers and businesses alike.

"All the critical sectors of London's infrastructure such as the emergency services, utilities, local authorities, transport and essential supplies, including food and fuel, have now been assessed as showing no risk of material disruption from the bug," he said.

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See also:
08 Jun 99 |  UK
Drive to beat Y2K panic
28 Sep 99 |  Business
Bug warning for small firms
18 Oct 99 |  Business
Firms 'already hit' by Y2K bug
01 Nov 99 |  UK Politics
Publicity campaign 'trivialises' Y2K

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