Southampton Labour’s John Denham MP has reacted to news that Liverpool has been asked to pay a higher amount of their UK grants in order to ensure fair competition, before the city’s application for turnaround cruises can be permitted.
Liverpool has been told by Mike Penning MP, Minister for Transport, that he is “minded that a higher proportion of the UK grants ought to be repaid in order to ensure the preservation of fair competition”.
However, Mr Penning has announced he is seeking independent financial advice to inform his final decision on exactly how much money Liverpool should have to repay. Any repayment would also now require State Aid permission from the European Commission. A final decision will be made in the coming weeks.
Mr Denham said:
“I think the Government is now travelling in the right direction on this issue, by finally recognising that Southampton could be damaged by unfair competition from Liverpool. I’m also pleased that any decision not to repay public money would need state aid clearance from the EU. However, now we need answers on who is going to provide the independent advice and what their terms of reference will be.”