A more prosperous borough focused on reducing inequality should underpin a new approach to developing Wirral’s economy in the coming years.
This is the basis of a draft New Economic Strategy for Wirral which will define how the borough moves forward through the 2020s – and consultation is now underway to get as many views on the proposals as possible.
Over the last five years, significant progress has been made in positioning Wirral as a place to live, work, visit and invest and we need to maintain this momentum.
The strategy will provide the building blocks to secure economic growth, with a focus on how we can ensure that local residents and businesses benefit. It will also recognise the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on Wirral’s economy.
Wirral is currently ranked 77th most deprived district in England, out of a total of 317, and 20% of children are living in poverty in Wirral compared with 17% across the rest of the country, but there are opportunities: Wirral’s employment rate is 73.9% and we have successfully narrowed the gap with regional and national averages in recent years.
The draft text is intended to help generate debate and discussion on the borough’s future economic direction, looking at the borough’s strengths and weaknesses.
The objectives of the strategy as it currently stands are for competitive businesses, thriving communities and ensuring people – whatever their age or background – see barriers to their development removed and are able to reach their full potential. In addition Wirral Council will put Community Wealth at the heart of what we do so that more of the wealth held and generated in Wirral is retained and controlled locally and flows into the hands of local residents.
Fundamental to all of this will be making a low carbon future integral to Wirral’s economy. The UK’s clean economy is estimated to grow at four times the rate of the rest of the economy and in the wake of Wirral Council’s declaration of an environment and climate emergency and development of the Cool Wirral 2 Strategy, the borough is well placed to make the most of this new direction for sustainable economic growth.
Vice-chair of Wirral Council’s Economy, Regeneration and Development Committee, Cllr Andrew Hodson, said: “This economic plan will ensure Wirral’s recovery from the coronavirus pandemic, while looking ahead to the future and the many opportunities we have for growth and job creation.
“It will help us address disparities across the borough, the aim being to re-position Wirral to ensure our focus is on more equity in our communities.
“The document as it stands is a long way from a finished product and is designed to encourage as many people as possible to say what they think should be done to make Wirral a more prosperous place and a more sustainable economy for everyone.
“So I would urge you now to get involved, have your say, and tell us what matters, what you want to see and help us make Wirral an even better place to live, work and visit.”