LIVERPOOL has been told to pay back more of the public subsidy it received in order to expand its cruise operation.
The Merseysiders' bid to become a "turnaround" terminal while paying back just £5.3m to the Department for Transport has today been turned down by Shipping Minister Mike Penning.
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."
He said he would seek independent advice on a "more appropriate figure".
Any lifting of the restrictions placed on Liverpool would need clearance from the European Commission, he added.
Mr Penning’s full statement said: “The Department consulted last year on a proposal from Liverpool City Council to alter the use of the City of Liverpool Cruise Terminal.
"The Department proposed to lift its objection to the removal of a grant condition that precludes use of the City of Liverpool Cruise Terminal for turnaround (start or end of cruise) operations, in return for the phased repayment of £5.3 million of grants.
"In the light of that consultation, 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.
“I will report further to the House when I have reached a decision on the DfT objection. As Liverpool City Council is aware, turnaround operations would also require State Aid clearance from the European Commission.
“Meanwhile, turnaround cruise operations continue to be permitted at Langton Dock in Liverpool.”