A 2020 Vision for Wirral sets out Wirral Council plans for future Back

A 2020 Vision for Wirral sets out Wirral Council plans for future

Wirral Council Leader Phil Davies has proposed an “innovative and pragmatic” new plan for how the Council will operate to significantly improve the lives of Wirral people and businesses in the borough by 2020.  View the Wirral Council plan - View the council plan at www.wirral.gov.uk/councilplan    

The new plan ‘A 2020 Vision for Wirral’ will be presented to Council on 13th July.

Cllr Davies said: “This year we became the UK’s Most Improved Council in the eyes of our peers in local government, and this plan is about building on that success.  Our aim now must be to move from normal to outstanding and this will require some further radical changes to the way we think and act.  It won’t be easy, change never is, and it isn’t helped by a Conservative government committed to shrinking the state and cutting public expenditure and services even more drastically over the next five years.

“We must continue to get the basics right. We have to deliver excellent core services, protect our most vulnerable citizens, provide good quality education and keep our streets safe and clean. But because of the scale of the cuts, we have to think differently about what we do, and how we do it. The council is no longer able to single-handedly provide all the services residents demand anymore, so we will have to work in close partnership with the private sector, charities and voluntary organisations” added Cllr. Davies.

The Plan, published later this week, sets out a series of 20 pledges which the Council will work to achieve by 2020, focusing on three key themes;

  • protecting the most vulnerable,
  • driving economic growth, and
  • improving the local environment.

The pledges include, among others;

  • Every child should have the best possible start in life; We aim to get every school in Wirral OFSTED rated “Good” or better, to improve GCSE Maths and English scores, and to improve academic attainment for our children in care and vulnerable young people.
  • Equip all our residents with the skills to enable them to secure quality jobs; We must better meet the needs of business and improve our ability to attract inward investment by developing a skilled workforce, we must link business and colleges to more closely align the provision with needs, and reduce the number of young people classified as NEETS (not in education, employment or training)
  • Create economic opportunities by attracting new jobs and investment; We will attract £250 million of private sector investment to Wirral over the life of this plan, we will create and safeguard 5000 new jobs by 2020, and support the creation of 250 new businesses by encouraging entrepreneurs and thriving local high streets.
  • Treat everybody with respect and dignity in older age; We have a sizeable older population and more must be done to help people live independently; we will introduce programmes that value the contribution older residents can make, by mentoring, volunteering or acting as reading and learning partners, and we will engage and listen to our older population to make sure we are improving our services.
  • Strive to close the gap in health inequalities; Sadly, it is still a fact that from one side of the Wirral to the other, there is a 10 year life expectancy gap. We will encourage healthier lifestyles by targeting a reduction in smoking, tackling obesity and addressing the damaging effects of alcohol related ill-health and behaviour.
  • Look after our environment for future generations to enjoy. We are lucky to live in one of the country’s most attractive places. We have a growing tourist trade and we will protect and maintain our parks and beaches for all to enjoy. But we also want residents to take a more active role in protecting the environment and we will take tough action against those who continue to litter, fly tip and let their dogs foul our streets and open spaces.

Not only will the Council have to get the best value from the £200 million it will remain responsible for in 2020, it will have to inspire, influence and lead how the £2 billion the public sector as a whole spends in Wirral each year.

“We face tough times” said Cllr Davies. “We have already seen £151m slashed from Wirral’s budget since 2010, and the Government are telling us they will cut a further £120m before 2020. Wirral residents recognise the problems these cuts cause, but while they support our call for fairer funding from Westminster they also expect us to get more done with the hand we have been dealt.  

By forging new partnerships and strengthening ones we already have, working across geography and administrative borders and by engaging and listening to our residents we will deliver the best possible deal for the people of Wirral.”