COUNCILLORS see a ‘fantastic opportunity’ to give the Wellington economy a boost as they take on a whole host of new services and responsibilities from bankruptcy-threatened Somerset Council.

Town councillors said they would now be able to offer contracts to local firms and make a real difference to the economy.

Cllr Keith Wheatley acknowledged that Wellington council taxpayers would be paying nearly double for their share of the bill in 2024-25.

He said: “As we are taking more out of the local economy through the council tax, we could put more back into the local economy by using local firms for work.

“We could make this a principle of the council and make it a positive.”

Town clerk Dave Farrow said this year would see the council having to ‘box and cox and make-do’, basically do what it could to keep services going.

“But we will have to look properly at what we do in 2025-26 and what we do with procurement and keeping things local,” said Mr Farrow.

Cllr Wheatley responded: “I think we are on the same page, but this would definitely help to develop local confidence.”

Cllr Justin Cole said: “I like the idea of keeping things local, but we have to look at value for money and also define the boundary of ‘local’ for Wellington and where we go with it.”

Mr Farrow said: “I know this sounds ‘Trumptonian’ (in a reference to former US President Donald Trump), but we are taking back control of our town and we must make sure we do not lose this opportunity.”

The discussion came at the town council’s policy and resources meeting the day after Somerset Council had set its budget for 2024-25 and axed services such as public toilets, CCTV, and some minor highways works such as grass cutting and gully clearance.

And Cllr Andrew Govier, one of Wellington’s two representatives on the unitary authority, said: “It was very depressing, very dispiriting.

“Who knows what is going to happen in the future, but we have got a real chance here in Wellington to make our local services better.”