CUTS totalling tens of millions of pounds have been passed by the county council in a “dark day for Hampshire” with pensioners and tip users potentially facing further charges to save vital services.

Councillors on Hampshire County Council (HCC) passed sweeping budget cuts on Thursday last week, as the authority battles to make savings of £140 million by April 2019.

But it also revealed new charges could be introduced in a bid to save frontline services across Hampshire, including a £1 levy for using household waste recycling centres run by the authority.

Members of the ruling Tory group said the pay-as-you-go scheme was the only alternative to closing up to half the tips in a bid to save £1.2 million.

A majority of 49 councillors voted for the recommended proposals in last Thursday’s full council meeting, while 20 councillors voted against and two abstained.

Faced with strong criticism of the administration’s proposal to axe funding for subsidised bus services and other transport links, the Conservatives also outlined plans to make pensioners pay 50p every time they use their bus pass and £10 each time a permit is issued or renewed.

They claimed that the revenue raised by the scheme would be used to support public and community transport schemes serving disadvantaged residents.

Test Valley Community Services launched a petition last month which gained over 1,000 signatures against cuts to transport services proposed by the council.

The county council is also exploring ways of finding enough cash to prevent school crossing patrols being axed.

Council leader Roy Perry said the authority had to achieve a balanced budget by saving £140 million but was exploring ways of meeting its target by raising extra income.

He was speaking at the end of a long debate during which the Tories repeatedly came under fire from members of the Liberal Democrat opposition group.

Lib Dems said many of the cuts would result in bigger bills for other organisations, including the police and the NHS.

Hamble councillor Keith House called it a “dark day for Hampshire”.

Current plans include slashing the adult social care budget by £56 million as well as spending less money on children’s care and reducing the number of youngsters going into care by the year 2021 by 410.

Deputy leader of the Labour group councillor Michael Westbrook said the cuts were “staggering” and claimed “if it’s not statutory it’s gone”.

Hythe and Dibden councillor Malcolm Wade added: “It’s the vulnerable, the weak and the poor who will experience the biggest life-changing effects.”

All the proposals will now be subject to more consultation.