LONDON Mayor Ken Livingstone says he will fight proposals to abolish free bus travel for under-18s.

Mr Livingstone pledged to keep free bus passes for children after London Assembly transport committee member Roger Evans called for them to be scrapped.

Mr Evans believes the scheme is an unaffordable luxury which could save the capital's taxpayers £55m a year if it was scrapped.

More than 35,000 Lewisham and Greenwich youngsters, aged between five and 18, have received a free bus pass since the scheme began 18 months ago.

Without the scheme, parents would have to shell out £350 for each child's bus travel a year.

Mr Livingstone said: "Free bus travel for children has opened up access to education and leisure.

"The proposal (to abolish it) would hit the poorest families hardest and I can't think of a more spiteful policy since the abolition of free school milk."