Reducing inequalities across Wirral will be at the heart of the borough’s plans to bounce back from the pandemic under new plans revealed today.
At the meeting of the council’s Policy and Resources Committee councillors gave the green light to a radically refreshed Wirral Plan 2021-2026, titled Equity for People and Place. The Plan will now be presented to full council later this year.
The council has completely updated the Wirral Plan in light of the impact the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic has had on the borough.
The new Plan defines the key priorities for the local authority over the coming years – outlining those tasks which the council will focus on to ensure the people of Wirral receive the services they need and want, based on what people said matters most to them.
In October 2019 Wirral Council had unanimously agreed the Wirral Plan 2025. However, because of COVID-19, it was agreed this needs to be reviewed in order that the Wirral Plan can deliver what is needed in radically changed circumstances.
The Covid-19 pandemic has been the most challenging emergency the Borough of Wirral and the council has responded to in recent times. The nature of the pandemic saw the council react at speed to implement Government policy and focus on new local priorities to limit the spread of the virus, protect the health of residents and ensure the most vulnerable in our communities are safe and cared for.
This required a remarkable effort by council staff, partners and residents many of whom have worked tirelessly and acted with compassion to protect, support and care for others. For example during the Coronavirus pandemic Wirral Council delivered more than three million items of PPE, dealt with 24,271 helpline calls and 12,250 business grant applications and paid out £94.5m in business grants. There have also been more than 18,000 food hampers delivered, 12,137 children given access free school meals and 1,064 laptops & 147 routers provided to Wirral children and young people to support learning at home.
Yet the borough now faces dealing with the financial, social and wider economic impact of the legacy of the pandemic and the refreshed Wirral Plan 2026 is using this as a unique opportunity to refresh the borough’s priorities and ambitions and create a fairer and more secure future for everyone in Wirral.
To do this this the council has identified a Strategic Recovery Plan which forms the core of the Wirral Plan 2021 – 2026, with two key phases: Recovery and Renewal.
1. Recovery concentrates on the safe re-opening and resumption of assets and services, aligned with the government roadmap. It also supports the recovery of local businesses, schools and education, events, and planning for the winter period.
2. Renewal considers new initiatives that will provide better services and experiences for our communities, using Community Wealth Building to tackle inequalities and drive inclusive economic growth including improving services for health and social care, families, the environment and housing.
Council leader, Cllr Janette Williamson, said: “Leading his council is a huge privilege as well as a massive responsibility, and I along with the other 65 councillors and everyone employed by the authority has a duty to ensure this council meets the needs of everyone on this borough.
“This Wirral Plan 2026 outlines how we will set about ensuring we can do that to the very best of our ability over the coming years, focusing on ensuring everyone is included as we move ahead using the incredibly exciting plans to regenerate the borough to help the least well off and ensure we tackle inequalities and bringing equity to all of our communities.”