IT – ‘Scaremongering’ Year 2000 warning

Millennium bug minister Margaret Beckett has been accused of ‘scaremongering’ for warning that year-2000 problems could crash payroll and budgeting systems when companies start their new financial years today.

John Pidgeon, who manages the Institute of Management Information’s payroll software evaluation service, played down fears raised by Beckett in a written parliamentary answer last month. The minister said companies should be aware of dates when year-2000 errors could first hit their systems and said: ‘For many it will be 1 April 1999, with the new financial year.’

But Taskforce 2000 director Robin Guenier said: ‘This is not an April fool. Most of the systems that will be affected are administrative, so the problems won’t be very noticeable outside the business. But payroll is important – people do notice.’

Pidgeon explained: ‘Obviously people need to check, but there is a bit of scaremongering. Payroll isn’t so bad, because you need a new release every year to cope with legislative changes.’

Related reading