Industry experts have rubbished warnings in yesterday?s Observer newspaper that told the public to stock up on emergency supplies in preparation for ?millennium bug related? shortages.
The front page Observer article said Gwynneth Flower, head of the government unit Action 2000, had made an ?unprecedented? statement urging people to buy in an extra supply of long life foodstuffs for the two weeks covering the millennium period.
However, in a response issued today, Action 2000 said Flower had not issued any statements on the matter, contrary to the Observer?s article. She had in fact had an interview with the paper but insisted the report had been misleading.
In radio interview today, Flower again denied giving any such advice.
?We don?t want people hoarding.? she confirmed, adding that she expected any problems to be local and short term.
Andy Kyte, Year 2000 specialist with the Gartner Group, has repeatedly warned against scaremongering over the issue and said that stockpiling would be more likely to lead to a disaster, rather than any problems associated with the millennium bug.
?We have been saying for some time that at the boundary people should make the kind of provision they would for a short but intense weather situation, such as a hurricane,? he said, ?It seems hard necessary to advise stockpiling.?
The story prompted a barrage of responses.
Rival bug busters Taskforce jumped onto the Observer bandwagon to condemn Flower?s supposed comments: executive director Robin Guenier said the story was the latest example of dangerous confusion at the heart of Government.
?This muddle is worrying,? he added, ?Nothing is more likely to cause public alarm - even panic - than lack of clarity from Government.?
In contrast the IGD confirmed that the food and grocery industry are not worried about any food shortages. Chief executive Joanne Denney commented: ?There is no reason to panic about staple food and grocery products not being available.?
When contacted the Observer was unable to provide any backing to its story.
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