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Monday, 3 January, 2000, 18:57 GMT
UK owes bug-busters 'great debt'
The UK moved into 2000 with few problems
The minister in charge of tackling the millennium bug has denied the threat was "over-hyped" and praised those who helped avoid a Y2K meltdown.

Margaret Beckett said the country owed a "great debt of gratitude" to those who had helped avoid a collapse of essential computer systems as the New Year dawned.

Mrs Beckett said the lack of bug problems three days into the 21st century was the result of years of hard work and money well spent.

She said: "Things don't go right by accident. People across the world have found all kinds of date change faults in business and public services which, as a result of money, effort and time, have been fixed.

Debt of gratitude

"We owe a great debt of gratitude to those people who have worked flat out over the last two years to make sure that we have up to now had a peaceful transition into the year 2000."

Margaret Beckett: Things don't go right by accident
A day before most people return to work the government's millennium centre has report business as usual in all government departments and key public services.

The private sector has also had no reports of serious bug problems.

The government spent about 430m preparing for the bug while private industry is thought to have spent up to 20bn on becoming year 2000 compliant.

Although little disruption has occurred so far bug watchers are warning against complacency.

The head of the independent bug watchdog Taskforce 2000, Robin Guenier, said only 5% of all potential bug problems were likely to occur at the stroke of midnight on New Year's Eve.

"I am more concerned about databases and billing systems and general administrative systems which are vital to businesses," he said.

Small businesses, some of which made little preparation for the year 2000 have yet to start work, but the London stock exchange, due to open on Tuesday is confident that it has the bug beaten.

'Only minor glitches'

The deputy governor of the Bank of England, David Clementi, said: "A huge amount of preparation was undertaken by the UK financial sector which has ensured the successful transition through the date change.

"Only a few minor glitches have been reported. More are likely to come to light over the next few days and weeks but these should be able to be resolved quickly."

Stock markets in the US, Asia and Europe have already traded successfully.

The Office for National Statistics is planning to survey a range of companies for several weeks into 2000 and will provide regular updates on the bug's effect on the UK economy.

See also:

03 Jan 00 | Scotland
02 Jan 00 | Business
31 Dec 99 | Science/Nature
01 Jan 00 | Business
31 Dec 99 | Asia-Pacific
31 Dec 99 | Business
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