Prime Minister (Meetings)

Part of First Minister's Question Time – in the Scottish Parliament at 12:01 pm on 8th March 2007.

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Photo of Rt Hon Jack McConnell Rt Hon Jack McConnell Labour 12:01 pm, 8th March 2007

We are moving quickly on all those issues. In particular, the Cabinet agreed yesterday morning to take immediate action to ensure that the tendering process that is due for the fisheries protection vessel happens within the 90-day period, and agreed to assure Ferguson's that it will be in a position to express an interest in tendering.

I am sure that ministers will be willing to discuss those matters with Trish Godman, but I assure Parliament that Scottish Enterprise, with the encouragement of ministers, has been actively involved in discussions with Ferguson's about diversification, about developing its ability to win contracts in the future and about the work that it could be bidding for.

In addition, the tender process for Caledonian MacBrayne involves more vessels. Ferguson's may be able not only to tender, but perhaps even to win contracts for building them.

Thirdly, ministers have quite rightly ensured that the initial tendering process for a fisheries protection vessel has been properly scrutinised. In our view, there will be a more professional tendering process this time round, which will, we hope, mean that not just Ferguson's but other yards will be able to compete on a fair and consistent basis.