USING public money to fund a £21m cruise ship terminal in Liverpool – hitting Hampshire ports – is ‘absolutely wrong’, the UK Cruise Port Alliance has said.
The city had wanted to become a point of departure and arrival for liners – making it a direct threat to Portsmouth’s own growing reputation as a start and end point for cruises.
Liverpool used £20m of government and European money to pay for the terminal, sparking a protest about public money being used to give one city an unfair advantage over another.
Shipping Minister Mike Penning announced that Liverpool can become a cruise departure point, as long as it pays back £8.8m.
And it will begin its new life next week.
The news has been met with outrage by the Solent Local Enterprise Partnership and Southampton Port, which will be in direct competition with Liverpool.
Captain Jimmy Chestnutt, the Hampshire-based spokesman for the UKCPA, said: ‘Our position is quite clear: this government should not allow the change of use of that terminal unless the public money used to fund it is returned. Using public money is absolutely wrong.’
Cpt Chestnutt said the UKCPA will now decide its next move, which could include a legal challenge.
Martin Putman, manager of Portsmouth International Port, added: ‘We support the position of the Local Enterprise Partnership that the development of Liverpool Cruise Terminal should be funded using their own resources and not by being given a commercial advantage, through grant funding that was not intended to produce a turnaround facility.’