Refurbishment works on libraries across the county have come in 30 per cent cheaper than normal.

Surrey County Council joined forces with East Sussex County Council to boost their buying power, with firms agreeing to discount prices of carpets, lighting and furniture.

Among the libraries to be replaced is the one in Cobham.

Denise Le Gal, Surrey County Council’s cabinet member for business services, said: “We’re determined to get the best possible deal for taxpayers and this is just another example of how we’re using our collective purchasing power to provide better, more efficient services in our libraries.”

The two councils have also come together for a roadworks permit scheme, created a website to make it easier for companies to win contracts and merged their administrative services to cut costs.