ONE of the biggest winners from the £20m taxpayer funded cruise terminal in Liverpool that threatens Southampton’s trade is a billionaire tax exile, the Daily Echo can reveal.

John Whittaker, the chairman and majority shareholder of Mersey Docks owner Peel Holdings, is the richest resident of the Isle of Man tax haven with a personal fortune estimated at £1.3 billion.

Although the terminal is run by Liverpool City Council, all visiting ships pay fees to Peel Ports as the harbour authority and liner visits are expected to soar if controversial plan to open it up to lucrative turnaround cruises is given the green light.

Whittaker, 67, is ranked as the 28th richest man in the country with vast property investments and his Peel Holdings empire stretching from Clydeside in Scotland to the Manchester Ship Canal and Trafford Centre as well as the Mersey docks and Liverpool’s John Lennon Airport.

Currently cruise ships are only able to visit the Liverpool terminal, but the city council is now asking to be allowed to use it as a base for the more profitable type of voyages that start and end at the terminal, known as turnaround cruises.

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