To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland, pursuant to his answer of 16 June,Official Report, column 55, how many tenders are currently being evaluated in respect of (a) the passenger ferry service to Orkney, (b) the passenger ferry service to Shetland and (c) a passenger ferry service for both Orkney and Shetland; and if he will make a statement. 
§ Mr. Dewar
[holding answer 30 June 1997]: Tenders for a block grant subsidy for the operation of passenger ferry services to Orkney and Shetland are currently being considered by Ministers. A number of options have been proposed for the operation of these services. Three proposals were made in respect of the services to Orkney, two of which also made proposals in respect of the services to Shetland. An announcement on the outcome of the tendering exercise will be made shortly.