§ 32. Mr. Ian Bruce
To ask the President of the Board of Trade what assistance she is giving to industry to help counteract the year 2000 computer problem; and what role her Department is playing in providing the technicians announced by the Prime Minister. 
§ Mrs. Roche
I have established Action 2000 to specialise in helping industry to address the year 2000 problem. The Department is also making use of existing delivery mechanisms to ensure that the message gets across. Business Links, the main delivery channel for Government support to the SME sector, are working closely with Action 2000 in developing services to provide information and advice on this issue. In addition, Business Links are working closely with the Training and Enterprise Councils (TECs) to help employers access the Department of Education and Employment (DfEE) funding announced by the Prime Minister to train 20,000 people in IT skills. DTI also contributes to the funding of the IT National Training Organisation (ITNTO) which is directly involved in developing the programme.
§ 34. Mr. David Atkinson
To ask the President of the Board of Trade what is her current assessment of the state of awareness within the United Kingdom of the need for computer systems to be millennium compliant and of the action that is necessary to be taken in the private sector. 
§ Mrs. Roche
Recent research by Action 2000 shows that the vast majority of large companies and most small and medium enterprises are aware of the need to ensure that their computer systems can handle Millennium date changes. Large businesses are taking action to avoid disruption to their own systems and increasingly addressing the potential for problems in the supply chains across their sectors.
Many smaller companies have yet to act, and these are the priority target for Action 2000 which has put in place a number of activities to pursue progress with these.