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Cruise terminal hopes get knock-back

£5.3m payback offer isn't enough to lift restrictions

Written by . Published on January 27th 2012.


Cruise terminal hopes get knock-back

 LIVERPOOL'S cruise ambitions have hit more troubled waters following a Government ruling that the city must pay back millions more in public money before it can launch liners from the Pier Head. 

The council had proposed giving back £5.3m of the £9.2m it received in aid to build the cruise terminal, after furious protests from rival ports. 

But Shipping Minister Mike Penning said the sum wasn't enough and is now seeking advice from an independent expert on what exactly is enough to lift the ban on cruises - which would start and finish at the Pier Head. 

In a written statement to Mps, Mr Penning said: "I find that there are persuasive arguments that this level of repayment would be insufficient to reflect the adverse impact on competition with other ports. 

"I therefore intend shortly to seek independent advice on a more appropriate figure. 

"Meanwhile, turnaround cruise operations continue to be permitted at Langton Dock in Liverpool." 

Liverpool City Council leader Joe Anderson had earlier threatened legal action against the Government if it rejected the £5.3m offer, saying the Dft had shaken hands on a deal at that price. 

Unfair

But yesterday his response seemed more concilliatory. Cllr Anderson said he would “welcome” the independent review, although he was disappointed in the decision and believed that the repayment offered was "fair and reasonable". 

The Princes Dock cruise terminal was opened in October 2007 with the help of grants from the Northwest Regional Development Agency and the European Regional Development Fund. 

Because of concerns about unfair commercial implications for other ports, operations were restricted to cruises calling at the city as part of a longer trip. 

Liverpool City Council put forward proposals for a partial repayment of this public subsidy in return for a lifting of these restrictions, but the move particularly angered cruise hubs like Southampton and Tyne which said jobs would be under threat. Subsequently a fierce campaign against the move was launched by the former. 

It is thought the arbitration delay will hit plans to carry out necessary work that would enable cruises to launch this summer – a move which, the council says, could deliver a £1m economic boost to the city. 

Mr Penner added that any lifting of the restrictions placed on Liverpool would need clearance from the European Commission.

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AnonymousJanuary 27th 2012.

If we got a John Lennon Airport why not a Mc Cartney Cruise Terminal... How much for the naming rights...

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