BOURNEMOUTH council will have to slash around £10.5 million from budgets in the next two years, its figures show.

The Conservative-run council will go into this year’s elections able to say that its residents have been spared the worst of the cuts hitting other areas. But it will have to make massive gains from reducing running costs in order to avoid cutting services in the following years.

Council leader Councillor Peter Charon insists a plan to reduce the costs of procurement will pay off and avoid the need for the cuts to services such as libraries and lollipop patrols which have hit other areas.

And he pledged: “No libraries will be cut in the next four years of a Conservative administration.”

The council’s budget book shows the authority will need to plug a deficit of £6.1m in 2012-13 and another £4.4m in 2013-14.

After that, the authority is projecting that outsourcing services to private firm Mouchel will help put the budget into a surplus of £21.2m by 2015-16.

Cllr Charon said: “We’ve got challenges to face, around £10.5 million.”

Councillors are considering a plan to rationalise procurement of supplies, joining together with public sector organisations to lower costs.

He said: “We have done the number crunching and there’s a minimum figure of what the council procures in goods and services of between £40m and up to £75m, where we can really get our teeth stuck in.

“With the right level of expertise, we will start to see savings which we think will run at between eight and 12 per cent of those numbers.”

He said following the new procurement strategy could save between £35m and £40m over 10 years.

But Cllr Claire Smith, leader of the Lib Dem opposition, was sceptical about the savings to be made.

She said the council was making cuts by laying off smaller numbers of people and leaving jobs empty.

“I certainly think that there will be cuts in the near future. I don’t think we’re all fully aware of the whole picture of how this is going,” she said. “Whilst we keep being told we’re not having these stringent cuts in Bournemouth, we’ve had a few cuts and there’s more in the offing. “Bournemouth may be doing it in dribs and drabs and not grabbing the sensational headline figures. I think it has been a rather unclear picture.”