Cllr David Simpson claimed the Tories wanted to make up to 20 people redundant and leave other posts vacant.

Public service union UNISON paints an even gloomier picture, fearing the number of people who could lose their jobs is more like 30.

Cllr Simpson also accused the Conservatives of targeting the elderly and disabled with their plans to reduce services.

He said: “First to suffer will be the old and sick, a traditional Tory target, who it is proposed should receive less travel tokens.

“Travel tokens can be used on trains, buses and taxis yet the heartless Conservatives are trying to force people to have bus passes alone, even though a bus does not go near much of Hart and in the rest of the district there is a spasmodic service at best.

“It would appear that Hart is now controlled by Tory Central Office and we are an experiment in Conservative council policies.

“Last May the Conservatives increased their majority from an overall 18 to 22 councillors out of 35.

“New and existing councillors have a number of ‘Westminster wannabes’ among them who are not interested in Hart. They are just interested in furthering possible Westminster careers.

“They are attempting to keep the council tax rise at or below 2.5% — a laudable aim one would think.”

Cllr Simpson said this would mean the approximate Band D rate of £2.25 paid to Hart Council each week would go up to £2.30.

But he added: “All the rest of a person’s council tax goes to other authorities, with the Conservative-controlled Hampshire County Council taking the lion’s share at more than £14 per week.

“Hampshire has already announced it is seeking a 15% rise, or in excess of £2 per week. To put it another way, Hampshire Conservatives will increase council tax by almost the total amount paid to Hart.

“Clearly Hart hitting services for the sake of maybe 10p will have little effect on the overall tax that we all pay but a drastic effect on the service we receive.”

Cllr Simpson warned: “Sadly Hart’s Tories cannot even get historical sums right so how can we trust them with a budget for the future?

“Last year they trumpeted that they had overall control of Hart for the first time since the 1980s. They repeated this last week, despite being told it was not true.

“Last year, when Hart’s council tax went up by 28%, there were 18 Conservatives, 12 Liberal Democrats and five Independents.

“This inability to do simple arithmetic is frightening.

“The Conservatives blame last year’s 28% rise on the Liberal Democrats.

“In reality they had so messed up Hart’s services in the previous four years with their erstwhile allies the Independents that they voted me, a Liberal Democrat, as leader to sort out the mess.

“This I started, with only two councillors voting against the budget.”