Helen Goodman: The accountability of regional Ministers is one of the issues which it will be open to the Select Committee on the Modernisation of the House of Commons to consider as part of the inquiry it has announced that it intends to undertake into regional accountability.
Mr. Allen: To ask the hon. Member for North Devon, representing the House of Commons Commission, if he will take steps to make independent legal advice available to the House and to hon. Members on the legality of (a) war-making and (b) voting on war-making. 
Norman Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many people were employed by his Department on 1 January in each of the last five years; and how many of these staff were (a) permanent employees, (b) temporary staff and (c) contractors. 
Paul Goggins: The following table details the number of (a) permanent and (b) temporary staff employed within the Northern Ireland Office on the 1 January in each of the last five years. The Northern Ireland Office has no contractors on the payroll.
|Total employed||Permanent staff||Temporary staff|
Andrew Selous: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many and what percentage of employees in (a) his Department and (b) each (i) executive agency and (ii) non-departmental public body funded by his Department, are above state retirement age. 
Paul Goggins: The following table details the number of employees and the percentage this represents in (a) the Northern Ireland Office and (b) each (i) executive agency who are above state retirement age. Information in relation to (ii) non-departmental public bodies is not available.
|Business area||Number of employees aged over 60||Total number of employees||Percentage|
|September 2006 to August 2007 (£)|
Expenditure incurred on hospitality by the NIO includes accommodation and hospitality for members of the royal family, visiting dignitaries and Heads of State, and also hospitality for the representatives of business, voluntary and community sectors in Northern Ireland attending the annual garden party at Hillsborough Castle.
Mr. Woodward: The key objective of my Department remains to build a lasting peace in Northern Ireland based on the Belfast Agreement and St. Andrews Agreement, in which the rights and identities of all traditions are fully respected and safeguarded and in which a safe, stable, just, open and tolerant society can thrive and prosper. This has not changed since 27 June.
Norman Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many fixed penalty tickets were incurred by vehicles within the purview of his Department in the last year for which figures are available; and what the total cost was. 
Des Browne: The UK armed forces in Helmand continue to defeat the Taliban tactically while supporting FCO and DfID programmes to improve governance and provide reconstruction. They continue to provide mentoring and assist in the development of the Afghan security forces as part of our long-term goal to ensure the Afghans can take responsibility for their own security.
Mr. Bob Ainsworth: At RAF Boulmer there are Air Surveillance and Control Systems units and a Search and Rescue Flight. Work is ongoing into the future location of AS AC units, including those at RAF Boulmer. I will announce the outcome of this work in due course.
12. Mr. Evans: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the volume and value has been of drugs seized by British naval vessels involved in drug operations in 2007; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Bob Ainsworth: The Royal Navy has seized just over 1 tonne of illegal narcotics during 2007, with an estimated UK street value of £49 million. The Royal Navys presence in the Caribbean and elsewhere provides an important contribution to UK counter- narcotics activity under the leadership of the Serious Organised Crime Agency.
14. Rosie Cooper: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make a statement on recent initiatives to improve shared and single accommodation for armed forces personnel and their families. 
Some 60 per cent. of service homes in Great Britain are now at the highest standard for condition. For Single Living Accommodation significant progress has been made since 2001, and some 50,000 new or improved bedspaces will have been achieved by 2013.
Des Browne: We estimate that around 20,000 Iraqis have been employed by UK armed forces in Iraq since 2003. Work continues to establish how many of these might be eligible for the package of support announced by my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister on 8 October.
Mr. Bob Ainsworth: Under the MODs Food Supply Contract, which commenced on 1 October 2006, approximately 55 per cent. of beef, 13 per cent. of lamb and mutton and 100 per cent. of pork supplied to the armed forces is sourced from British farms.
Derek Twigg: I was delighted recently to award the 500,000(th) badge to Sonia Harford on board HMS Belfast. In total, up to 12 October this year, over 518,500 veterans badges have been issued since the badge was introduced in 2004.
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