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Y2K to bring local authorities to their knees

UK councils set to lose reputation as bastions of efficiency

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Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear. The government has been nagging us all about it for ages now, but the Y2K watchdog, Action 2000, has revealed that eight UK councils have totally failed to deal with the problem of the flesh-eating millennium bug. Of the remaining 98 per cent of town halls in the UK, only six per cent have been given a clean bill of health, meaning that with only five months to go, the vast majority of councils are unsure about meeting the deadline. The question that has to be asked though, is will it make any difference? Action 2000 says that the bin men might not show up, that computer failures could disrupt schools, and the councils' employees might not get paid on time - if at all. But lets face it, councils do not have a reputation for being the most efficiently run places to start with, and as we have seen with the recent farce in the passport office and new systems for benefits payments (two cheers for EDS - Ed), you don't need a millennium bug to throw a spanner into the works. Of the UK's police forces, only one has been given a blue light indicating total compliance, the rest are all at amber, just like the councils. Robin Guenier, director of Taskforce 2000, and independent bug-squisher, commented: "Amber status is little better than red with five months to go." A spokeswoman for Action 2000 said that it would not be "naming and shaming" those with red light status, and that it was up to the relevant government bodies to disclose this information. According to another report out today, the financial sector is likely to be hit hardest and abroad, British embassies may have to be closed temporarily if local services are not up to scratch when the clock strikes twelve. ®

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