A MASTER plan to change how Wirral Council operates during the next five years has been approved by councillors.

The so-called Wirral 2020 plan was passed at full council on Monday night.

It envisages job creation and sharing services with neighbouring authorities.

Council leader Cllr Phil Davies described the blueprint as a "pragmatic, innovative and bold" scheme that would lead to "huge cultural change."

He said it represents a chance to tackle challenges that lie ahead as the authority faces slashing £120m from its budget by 2020 due to further Government austerity measures.

With cuts to spending comes the threat of job losses, but Cllr Davies said he would do all he could to save staff from the axe.

The authority hopes to secure £250m of private investment with the aim of creating 5,000 new jobs.

It is also proposing to build or improve 7,000 homes during the life of the plan.

Councillor Davies said: “This is a people-first plan and it is essential we take our residents with us on this journey.

"We need to put mechanisms in place to ensure we are constantly aware of local priorities and that the policies we pursue address them.

“We’ve come a long way over the last three years and have had our own challenges.

“In March we were awarded most improved council in the country and I believe we’ve got a mandate from the people of Wirral to deliver this plan.

“The plan we have set out today will be a challenge, but also an opportunity to do things differently than in the past."

He added: “It’s a huge cultural change and I think it’s a really exciting opportunity to make some radical differences to the way we work.

“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."

An amendment was submitted by Wirral’s Liberal Democrats, calling for “more meat to be put on the bones” of the plan, but was defeated.

Cllr Davies said a more detailed plan will be put forward now the document has been agreed.

The blueprint includes a range of 20 pledges, from improving the environment, increased prospects for business growth, raising the tourism economy to £450m and increasing efforts to deal with anti-social behaviour including fly-tipping and dog-fouling.