GLASGOW Subway is to open late on the five Sundays running up to Christmas.

But free city centre weekend parking is to be scrapped to save cash.

In the past the Underground network has opened after 6pm on Sundays only for specific one-off events.

But this year, Strathclyde Partnership for Transport has decided that instead of closing at its usual time, the Subway will remain open until 8.30pm between November 25 and Christmas.

George Redmond, chairman of Strathclyde Partnership for Transport, said: "SPT wants to make sure people who are coming into the city centre for shopping or a night out in the run-up to Christmas have the easiest journey possible.

"The best way to get in and out of town is to jump on the Subway.

"By opening a bit later on Sundays we hope families, shoppers and commuters will enjoy all that Glasgow has to offer during the festive period."

The move has been welcomed by Glasgow Chamber of Commerce boss Stuart Patrick.

He said: "This is a fantastic initiative that will help bring more people into the city centre over the festive period."

Scott Taylor, chief executive of Glasgow City Marketing Bureau, said: "This is a very welcome announcement.

"Glasgow's Subway is one of the fastest and easiest ways to get into the city centre.

"This will ensure a great many more families and shoppers can take advantage of late-night retail opening hours and the fantastic programme of free entertainment lined up over the next five weeks."

However, it has been revealed neither SPT nor the city council will this year offer free parking at weekends.

The deal has been available in previous year in a bid to tempt shoppers away from out of town shopping centres such as Braehead, where it is free to park.

But council bosses say the city centre is so popular there is no evidence free parking attracts any more shoppers.

A spokesman said: "We have to save £49million over the next two years and we need to prioritise frontline services."