EAST Lancashire Tory Nigel Evans has criticised Government measures over school buses which he says will end up with many pupils paying £400 to get to class.

But a spokeswoman for Education Secretary Charles Clarke said the maximum cost of any changes would be less than half that.

Ribble Valley MP Mr Evans is furious that the new School Transport Bill will allow local education authorities to take away free or cheap bus travel to school and enable a charge to be levied. He claimed this could saddle parents with an annual £400 charge.

But the Department for Education and Skills said that local education authorities were not obliged to change the system.

The Government is proposing LEAs should have the powers to change the arrangements so that poorer families, regardless of how far from school they live, get the concession.

The department estimates this will cost between 50p and £1 a journey for 38 five-day weeks. That means the cost will be between £95 and £190 a year.

But Mr Evans said: "The Bill is a kick in the teeth to anyone who lives rurally and depends on school transport to get their children to school."