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Lord Falconer of Thoroton: The possession of paramilitary arms is a severe offence. Security forces continue to take steps to locate dumps and seize weapons. Cross-border security co-operation is good and there has been a large number of finds in recent months.
Lord Sainsbury of Turville: There were 11,070 insolvencies in England and Wales during the first three months of this year, a rise of 535, or 5 per cent, on the same quarter in 1999. Barclays Bank estimates that in total there were 108,000 business closures in England and Wales during the first three months of this year, a rise of 8,000, or 8 per cent, on the same quarter in 1999.
Barclays Bank estimates that there were 3.1 million full-time businesses in England and Wales at the start of 1990. At the start of this year there were 2.8 million, the highest level since 1993 and an increase of 154,000 since the start of 1997.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord Bassam of Brighton): Information on the average police response times to emergency calls is not collected centrally. However, each police force sets its own target response time and performance against this is measured by the Audit Commission, which publishes the data in the Council Services Compendium for England, The Local Authority Performance Indicators. The information for 1998-99 is set out in the table. This relates to all the police forces in England and Wales. Similar data, from 1993-94 onwards, can be found on the Audit Commission website, www.audit-commission.gov.uk/ac2/PIfirst.htm.
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