PORTSMOUTH has been held up as a shining example of a city ‘on the up’ by business secretary Vince Cable.
Mr Cable was in the city yesterday to officially open the new terminal at Portsmouth International Port.
He hailed the new terminal – built as part of a £16.5m redevelopment of the expanding port – as a tribute to the city council and its residents.
Speaking to The News, Mr Cable said: ‘This terminal is absolutely brilliant, a great building. Portsmouth is a really exciting city.
‘It’s very clear that Portsmouth is on the up.
‘There are high-tech industries expanding here, such as BAE Systems, which I deal with regularly as business secretary; Astrium, IBM is based here, Pall Europe and others.
‘There is growth in Portsmouth, and regeneration.
‘What I see in Portsmouth is a success story. Portsmouth is a really exciting city.’
The new terminal building opened to ferry and cruise ship customers on April 1.
It has already attracted widespread praise for its environmentally-friendly credentials, its viewing balcony, and because it represents an investment by Portsmouth City Council, which owns the port.
City councillor and Portsmouth South MP Mike Hancock said: ‘The port has directly created 805 full-time jobs and something like 1,600 full-time equivalent jobs.
‘It’s something that’s very important to us, and it contributes around £71m a year to the regional economy.’
Port manager Martin Putman said the opening had gone well – despite the protesters waiting outside to heckle Mr Cable over the government’s cuts.
He added: ‘It’s been absolutely terrific to have Vince Cable here.
‘He’s been here before we even started the project so he’s seen a few changes.’
Guests at yesterday’s ceremony included councillors, civic leaders, representatives from the naval base, ferry companies and those who worked on the old terminal when it was opened in 1976.
Bill Gibbons, director of the Passenger Shipping Association, said: The terminal is like a symbol of the city’s regeneration.’
Protesters rally outside ferry port
BUSINESS secretary Vince Cable was criticised by protesters after he left from a back door at the ferry port.
Around 30 campaigners had gathered at the new terminal outside the Portsmouth International Port, which was officially opened by Mr Cable yesterday.
Protesters campaigned for an hour and were hoping to ask Mr Cable questions about government cuts.
But they were left fuming after Mr Cable left the port through a back door.
Protester Kim Morgan, a student, said: ‘I think it’s extremely cowardly that he left through another exit and didn’t confront the people that are holding him to account.
‘We vote MPs in so it’s our right to hold them to account and ask them questions.
‘I want to know why they have sold out students and why they’re sabotaging families through health and public services cuts.’
But protest organiser Jon Woods declared the campaign a victory.
He said: ‘We were here to show the government we’re opposed to the cuts.’
Portsmouth South MP Mike Hancock said: ‘The reason why Vince had to leave from another exit was because his driver drove up to another exit.
‘As he was in a rush to attend his next meeting he didn’t have time to ask the driver to go around the ferry port, which would have added another 10 minutes on to his journey, and he was running late already.’