News in Brief – 2 July

NHS coping with year 2000

The NHS is much further on in dealing with IT problems created by the millennium bug than recent reports have suggested, Alan Langlands, chief executive of the NHS Executive, said this week. More than 90% of NHS organisations are making ‘satisfactory progress’ in dealing with the problem, said Langlands, but he acknowledged that relatively few could claim to be on target with every aspect of the project.

Quangos to be more open

Measures to improve the openness and accountability of quangos were published by David Clark, minister for public services, this week. Clark said the measures would increase the amount of information made available by quangos through annual reports, as well as reducing the number of quangos and widening the field of candidates applying for public appointments.

E-commerce taxes shunned

The European Commission plans to prevent new taxes being levied on electronic trade. Policy on the indirect taxation of e-business should instead adapt existing taxes, and be considered as the provision of a service if it involves the supply of a product.

Bankruptcies on the up More than 10,000 businesses failed in the UK during the second quarter of this year – an increase of 4% on the same period last year – according to research company Dun & Bradstreet. Small business bankruptcies rose by 25% from 4,670 in the first quarter this year to 5,860 in the second.

CIMA FDs optimistic

A majority of CIMA finance directors and finance controllers (71%) are ‘fairly or very optimistic’ about the outlook for their businesses over the next 12 months. Two-thirds report increased sales over the last year, up from 61% in the previous year.

High Court consent order

In the High Court hearing in London on 12 June between taxation and accountancy software supplier CSM, and Hartley Computer and former CSM marketing director Joanna Edwards, the judge issued a consent order accepting Hartley’s undertakings to preserve copies of its mailing database. The databases will be logged with Hartley’s solicitor as evidence to show it did not use CSM customer information to prepare mailings, as alleged in CSM’s original writ. A further hearing may take place later this month.

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