Port managers must be somewhat more hopeful of acquiring funding for a multi-million pound capital dredging and cruiseship berth scheme for Falmouth after Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott announced a funding package worth £17 million to build a cruiseship facility in Liverpool.

The North West Regional Development Agency is providing £9.9 million with the remaining £7.1 million coming from the Merseyside Objective One programme.

The money will be used to construct a 250-metre extension to the existing landing stage at Liverpool's Pier Head facility. Liverpool port bosses are hoping to attract cruiseships up to 350 metres in length.

NWDA chief executive Steven Broomhead said: "The agency is pleased to support the development of a cruise liner facility on Liverpool's world famous waterfront. The new gateway will significantly improve our tourism offer providing easy access to the region's outstanding tourist attractions, enticing visitors from both the UK and abroad.

It is a major strategic project that will boost employment in the maritime and tourism industry and make a significant contribution to the regional economy."

Will the South West Regional Development Agency recognise that Falmouth is the gateway to Cornwall for the cruiseship business before it is too late?

We have one of the most beautiful harbours in the world providing a natural amphitheatre for luxury ships carrying passengers who will pump millions of pounds into the county, and still the wheels of bureaucracy grind on a snails pace.