Last word on `Britannia' future

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The Independent Online
George Robertson, the Defence Secretary, will announce today whether the government plans to reprieve the royal yacht Britannia, whose future has been in doubt for many months.

Gordon Brown, the Chancellor, has already ruled out spending public money on a new or refurbished yacht, but a number of organisations have bid to take it over and to run it as a museum, hotel or conference centre.

A new yacht would cost around pounds 60m and the running costs would be between pounds 6m and pounds 12m per year. Britannia is due to set off on a voyage around Britain a week on Monday which has been described as her last, but a Ministry of Defence spokesman said last night that this might not necessarily be the case.