Troops could be called on to the streets to quell civil emergencies caused by the millennium bug, according to a leaked UK Cabinet letter.
In the letter, Donald Dewar, the secretary of state for Scotland, warned his Cabinet colleague George Robertson, the defence secretary, that planned cuts to the volunteer Territorial Army could leave the country unprepared for any civil emergencies caused by computer failures after the century date change.
?This could well leave the country open to criticism over a reduction of emergency preparedness at a time when millennium bug problems pose a threat to key services such as electricity and telecommunications, and when therefore, emergency preparedness should be enhanced,? Dewar wrote.
Although Dewar is thought to have raised the wrath of Downing Street for using the millennium threat to protect Scottish interests, the letter is still by far the most graphic warning from a senior minister of the dangers posed by the bug.
In a statement today, Margaret Beckett, leader of the House of Commons, insisted that protecting the public is the government?s prime concern.
?This government?s top priority in terms of the millennium bug has always been the safe and secure supply of essential services. It will remain so,? she said.
The government is putting in place contingency plans to deal with the millennium Bug, ?whatever the outcome?, she said.
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