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Margaret Beckett, leader of the house of commons, and BBC presenter ...
Margaret Beckett, leader of the house of commons, and BBC presenter

Nick Ross, today launched a booklet 'The Millennium Bug - Facts Not

Fiction'. The booklet is designed to inform the public about if and

how the millennium bug will affect them and to dispel some common


Launching the£5m campaign, Mrs Beckett said:

'This easy to read booklet separates the facts about the millennium

bug from the fiction. It tells people about how key basic services -

hospitals, airports, cashpoints, supermarkets and petrol stations -

will be operating over the new year period. It is an informative and

reassuring booklet which I urge people to read.'

Nick Ross said:

'I think the booklet is very helpful. Some people are confused about

whether the millennium bug will affect their home computer, video

recorder or even microwave. This gives clear information about what

items are at risk, how to check them and where to get further advice.

It's a 'One Stop Shop' of information about the millennium bug.'

The booklet explains what the millennium bug is and what services may

be affected by it. It covers domestic appliances, home personal

computers, shops and petrol stations, health, travel, personal

finance, insurance and utilities. The booklet has been compiled on

behalf of Government by Action 2000 in conjunction with leading UK

companies, the utilities, travel authorities and government


The booklet will be distributed as an insert in national and regional

Sunday newspapers on 13th June 1999, and will also be available at

main post office counters and in main TV listings magazines. The

booklet is designed to be an easy to keep reference guide to those

who are uncertain about how the millennium bug will affect them as

the date change draws nearer. Nick Ross will front a television and

radio advertising campaign in support of the booklet which is also

being published today. The booklet will be supported by a dedicated

action line, run by Action 2000. Actionline will assist people with

further enquiries and can provide extra booklets.

Individuals or businesses who feel they want further advice on

Millennium Bug issues are invited to phone Actionline on

0845 601 2000.


1. The booklet 'The Millennium Bug Facts Not Fiction' will be

distributed in Sunday newspapers on 13th June 1999. It will be

available at main post office counters. A faxed copy can be requested from LGCnet, tel 0171 833 7324/5. The£5m information

campaign is designed to give people clear information about the

Millennium Bug and what services will be available over the new

year period.

2. Individuals wishing to request copies of the brochure should call

the Millennium Bug Actionline on 0845 601 2000.

3. What is the millennium bug? It is the inability of many business

systems and other electronic devices to recognise the date change

from 1999 to 2000. This is because their timing devices only

acknowledge the last two digits of any year and may therefore

interpret the century change incorrectly, interpreting the new

date change as 1900 and not 2000. The problem could affect

business systems and embedded systems with potentially serious


4. Action the government has taken to address the problem. The

president of the council, Margaret Beckett, chairs MISC 4, a

cabinet committee which is responsible for driving action across

both the public and private sectors. The aim is to ensure there is

no material disruption of key public services over the millennium.

A dedicated Year 2000 policy team (website, based in the cabinet office,

supports MISC 4 and the Year 2000 media co-ordination unit has

recently been established in the cabinet office to act as a

central government press office and co-ordination centre for Y2K

information. (tel. 0171 270 6193/6085, fax. 0171 270 6628.)

6. Action 2000 Millennium Bug Campaign. Action 2000 is a company set

up by the government to help and advise private sector businesses

on converting their awareness of the millennium bug into action.

The campaign was launched in January 1998 with an actionline

(0845 601 2000) and website ( providing

factsheets on the measures to be taken and signposting further

sources of information.

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