HC Deb 08 July 1998 vol 315 c1061
8. Mr. Ian Bruce (South Dorset)

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

The Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster (Dr. David Clark)

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.

Mr. Bruce

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?

Dr. Clark

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.]

Madam Speaker

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.

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