12. What progress his Department has made on its procurement of three new offshore patrol vessels from BAE Systems. (903056)
We are in negotiations with BAE Systems for the contract to build the three new offshore patrol vessels announced in November. As part of these arrangements, only last Wednesday, during a visit to Scotstoun, I announced that the MOD had committed £20 million to this programme, with the award of a contract for long-lead items, such as engines and gearboxes, which need to be ordered in advance. The main investment decision is due in coming months and construction work of the vessels is due to begin this autumn.
I thought that my hon. Friend might be interested in the base porting announcement. As is normal practice, we will make the announcement around the time of the main gate investment decision, which, as I have already said, is likely to be this autumn. I am sure that he will advocate strongly his constituency interest, but I have to advise him that other hon. Members will be doing so as well.