LABOUR has done a U-turn over a decision to remove free bus passes from around 1500 Glasgow school pupils.

Under a new ruling, youngsters at secondary school do not qualify for free travel if they live less than three miles away from school - previously the threshold was 2.2miles.

For primary children, the distance is two miles - an increase of 0.8miles.

The decision to increase the qualifying distance for a free bus pass, which was aimed at saving £615,000, was introduced from the start of the new school term on August 15.

Around 300 primary and 1200 secondary pupils were affected by the decision.

But the move infuriated some of the city's least well off parents who said they would struggle to pay for their children's fares to school.

And it raised safety concerns about youngsters having to walk long distances to get to class, especially in the long, dark winter months.

Earlier this month, the city council agreed to review the decision as part of a wider project assessing the cost of the school day.

The review is now complete and council leader Frank McAveety has revealed members of the ruling Labour group have decided to scrap the decision.

He said: "In terms of recent developments and further cuts to working families tax credits, we were concerned the impact on families of losing free travel is quite dramatic.

"As a former teacher, I am keen to remove as many barriers to getting to school as possible. I want to make sure youngsters can get to school and we want to work with families. I am listening to the concerns raised by parents.

"I have been very concerned about what we have heard about the cost of the school day because Glasgow families are hard pressed enough as it is.

"The saving of £615,000 is a substantial sum of money but it is the right thing to do."

Mr McAveety called on the Scottish Government to increase the amount of cash allocated to the city council to avoid money being cut in other areas.

The city council agreed to change the criteria for free bus passes for pupils when it set its budget for the year in February.

At the time, education spokesman Stephen Curran said the new distance limits were still below the distances recommended by the Scottish Government.

which are two miles for any pupil under eight years of age and three miles for any other pupil.

He added: "The savings will be used to retain the number of teachers in our schools.

"Where there are no safe routes to school - regardless of the distance - free school transport will remain."