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Mr. Stinchcombe: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many representations her Department has received since June 2001 critical of the AS Levels from (a) school governing bodies, (b) headteachers, (c) local education authorities, (d) teachers, (e) students and (f) parents. 
Mr. Ivan Lewis: The Department received a total of 694 representations from 1 June 2001 to date in which criticism of some aspect of AS Levels was raised. Complete data are not available on the number of representations under the various categories as requested. However, available information suggests that the majority of correspondence came from parents and students.
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Margaret Hodge [holding answer 1 February 2002]: The total amount paid in maintenance grants in academic year 197879 was £272 million (cash terms). There were 320,000 eligible higher education students, which equates to an average maintenance grant of £850 per student.
Mr. Ivan Lewis: In the White Paper "Schools: achieving success" we said that it would be necessary to create more space at Key Stage 4 of the National Curriculum and agreed that there is insufficient flexibility in the current system. We will shortly be publishing a consultation paper setting out more detailed proposals.
Mr. Pickles: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions (1) if it is his policy to seek to conclude a treaty between the UK and the USA on open skies before 31 January; 
(3) if it is his policy to seek full wet leasing rights for UK airlines in the USA before agreeing a new open skies treaty with that country; 
(4) if it is Government policy that there should be a full reciprocation of rights and privileges between the carriers of both nations before the UK concludes a treaty on open skies with the USA; 
(5) what assessment he has received on the balance of benefits to the UK economy of conceding fifth freedom access to the European market for USA airlines in return for the American authorities approval of the British Airways/American Airway alliance; 
(6) what assessment he has made of the impact on UK carriers of granting rights at (a) Stansted and (b) other UK airports to USA carriers without reciprocal rights in the USA to UK carriers; 
(7) if it is his policy to seek fifth freedom rights for UK airliners in the USA before agreeing a new open skies treaty with that country; 
(8) when the next negotiations on open skies are scheduled to take place between the USA and the UK; 
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Mr. Spellar: Negotiations on UK/US air services, which were scheduled to resume in Washington on 28 January, were postponed when it became clear that the prospect of a large part of the UK's airline industry gaining effective access to the large US domestic market had been removed. However, we remain committed to achieving the full and genuine liberalisation of the UK/US aviation market. In pursuing this policy we shall continue to be guided by a consideration of the widest spectrum of UK consumer and economic interests.
In negotiating air services agreements we seek to make balanced exchanges of rights. A liberalisation deal would, by definition, include more liberal traffic rights for the carriers of each side so, if granted, fifth freedom rights in a new UK/US Agreement would be available to the carriers of both sides.
Chris Grayling: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions on what assumptions about future fare levels the 10-year plan and the SRA strategic plan are based. 
Chris Grayling: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions what estimates he has made of the availability of network capacity to run East London line trains to Croydon. 
Mr. Spellar: I refer the hon. Member to the answer given by the Under-Secretary of State, my hon. Friend the Member for Plymouth, Devonport (Mr. Jamieson), to the hon. Member for Aylesbury (Mr. Lidington) on 14 January 2002, Official Report, column 17W.
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Chris Grayling: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions who will have executive responsibility for establishing the special purpose financing vehicle for investment in routes operated by South Central. 
Chris Grayling: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions whether the promoters of crossrail will be able to bring forward and construct the scheme earlier than envisaged in the SRA strategic plan; and if he will provide public financial support for such a move. 
Mr. Spellar: As the plan states, options for taking forward the scheme are being developed by the SRA/TfL joint venture Cross London Rail Links Ltd. Timing of the next stages will depend on the outcome of that work, and construction of a scheme will depend upon the necessary powers being obtained.
Mr. Spellar: Various crossrail issues were on the agenda when I chaired the most recent meeting of the High-Level London Rail Group on 17 January. The Mayor of London and the chairman of the Strategic Rail Authority are co-members of the group.
Mr. Colman: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions what status the Crossrail project has within the Strategic Rail Authority plans up to 2010; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Jamieson: The SRA's Strategic Plan makes it clear that a number of major schemes, including Crossrail, are being explored further in terms of feasibility and value for money. The authority has underlined its commitment to Crossrail by providing half of the £154 million funding for the new company which is currently undertaking development work.
Chris Grayling: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions if it is his policy to allow mixed use of lines by heavy and light rail services on routes, in a similar way to the Tyne and Wear Metro extension. 
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fundamental change to the safety case of the infrastructure operator. The HSE would consider an application on that basis. For example, HSE approval of the Tyne and Wear Metro extension was dependent on all signals on the Metro extension being fitted with an automatic train protection system similar to those fitted to the rest of this stretch of the mainline network.
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