§ Miss Kirkbride
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how the procurement of the roll-on roll-off ships indicated in the Strategic Defence Review is progressing under the PFI-PPP; and when he expects the contract to be awarded. 
§ Mr. Spellar
Four consortiums have been short-listed to meet MOD's Military Sealift requirement through the Private Finance Initiative procurement of roll-on roll-off ships. We intend that Invitations to Negotiate will be issued by the end of March. The preferred bidder will be chosen this Autumn and we plan to place the contract in mid 2000 after detailed negotiations.