HAMPSHIRE County Council has joined in the fight to stop Liverpool from using a European grant to bolster its cruise services.
The Liverpool terminal was funded by £18m of European cash on the condition that the city was only a visiting port for cruise ships, rather than a start and end point like Portsmouth and Southampton ports.
Liverpool is now asking for permission to operate turnaround cruises, offering to repay only £5m of the original £18m grant in instalments over 15 years.
Council leader Ken Thornber proposed that council support a petition organised by the UK Port Alliance, which objects to the Liverpool proposal as it would damage the local Hampshire economy, and that other UK ports are funded entirely by private investment.
He said: ‘We would never begrudge any area money for regeneration, but this proposal to repay just 29 per cent of the grant over 15 years will give Liverpool an unfair advantage over its competitors who rely solely on commercial funding.’
to run turnaround operations.