Tax cuts work

Today the Chancellor will remind us in a speech that some important taxes are being cut. This is the way to promote more jobs and rising prosperity. The aim is to get more people off welfare into work, and to create the conditions for more good jobs to be created for people to improve their living standard. I repeat beneath the recent summary sent out by the Conservative party of the main tax cuts of the last Budget:


“Tax changes coming into effect this week:


On Tuesday:


  • Corporation tax will be cut by 1 per cent to 21 per cent. It has fallen from 28 per cent in 2010 and will fall further to 20 per cent in April 2015, making it the lowest corporation tax rate in the G7.


  • Tax on business investment virtually abolished for most businesses. The annual investment allowance will be doubled to £500,000, and will be extended by a further year to December 2015. This means 99.8 per cent of businesses could pay no tax on investment.


  • Business rates reformed so that:
    • The annual increase is capped at two per cent;
    • The small business rates relief is extended for a further year, so that over half a million of the smallest businesses pay reduced rates and over a third of a million pay no rates at all; and
    • Targeted help for the high street in the form of a £1,000 discount for retail properties takes effect, benefitting around 300,000 shops, pubs and restaurants


  • Fuel duty is frozen again.


On Sunday:


  • The income tax-free personal allowance increases to £10,000. 24.5 million taxpayers will benefit, with a further quarter of a million taken out of paying income tax altogether. From April, typical basic rate taxpayers will have gained by £705 from all increases announced by this Government. Three million people on low incomes will be taken out of income tax altogether.


  • Employer National Insurance Contributions will be cut by up to £2,000. This new Employment Allowance will benefit over one and a quarter million employers, over 90 per cent of them small businesses. 400,000 small businesses will no longer pay employer National Insurance at all.”

This is in addition to the savers’ package of measures which we have already discussed on this site, increasing the ISA allowance, offering new Pensioner Bonds in the next financial year and freeing savers to  make their own decisions about their pension savings.



  1. Andyvan
    March 31, 2014

    Good news our overlords are going to steal marginally less from us.
    I’m certainly very grateful and will be tugging my forelock ferociously.
    I can’t help remembering from my distant school education that medieval serfs only had to give up 10% of their income to their masters and when it started to get more than that they had insurrections with royalty getting their heads removed. Democracy is certainly the best system for convincing us that we have a say in how our stolen money is spent but personally I’m not totally sold on it.

    1. Cliff. Wokingham
      March 31, 2014

      Tax cuts are a good thing however, most of the taxes John mentions are tax cuts on businesses and not on ordinary people and therefore, few people will feel any real benefit in real terms. We are told that wage rises have out paced inflation for the first time for some years however, in real terms, spending power has been cut for the average person, especially for those of us on fixed incomes.

      As a true Conservative myself, I always welcome tax cuts but, I would far rather like to see the state doing far less, in terms of interfering in our lives and telling us how to live them. It seems to me that, as the EU decides more and more for us, so the government in the UK takes it upon themselves to try to manage the smaller areas of our lives and charges us dearly for doing so.
      The state needs to look at just what it does on our behalf and leave people to manage their own lives and to spend their own money.
      For me, all the state should provide is defense/security, protection from crime, education, healthcare and a welfare safety net for those Britons who need it. It does not need to concern itself with such trivial matters as the size of pizzas or how happy people are. Leave people alone, take less money from them and get on with putting the interests of our nation first.

      John, I notice that the “Messages from Nanny” are starting to increase again on commercial radio……Most say basically; “Do as you’re told or we’ll have you.”

      Reply The tax threshold changes to Income Tax are substantial and do help ease the squeeze on most people’s budgets. The Asda Income tracker amongst others shows real spending power is now going up.

      1. Cliff. Wokingham
        March 31, 2014


        Thanks for the reply…..Just to clarify; are you saying that despite years of wages being outstripped by inflation, this single figure showing wages have increased more than inflation, has in effect, compensated for all those years of effective pay cuts? In other words; if we take a look over say the last five years, are we now better off in real terms compared to five years ago?….If yes, I can assure you it doesn’t feel like it.

        Reply No, of course not. The big loss of real earnings of the last 6 years, mainly in the big recession but continuing this decade, is going to take time to recover in full.

        1. John Chaytor
          March 31, 2014

          I think that a lot of the electorate understand that living standards had to fall during the recession. After all, the public have generally agreed with the “austerity” programme and unemployment remained relatively low as most employees sacrificed wages for job security.

          I think that Labour have misunderstood this completely.

          If the economy really does go into overdrive by the end of this year, as I expect, the Tories will have a good message to sell to the electorate.

          After all, when you analyse what Labour say, they are still wedded to tax, borrow and spend.

          1. APL
            April 1, 2014

            John Chaytor: “After all, the public have generally agreed with the “austerity” programme ”

            Except there hasn’t been an austerity programme.

            The ‘cuts’ if you can believe there have been any, are to the rate of increase in the deficit, that is the amount the government borrows or QE’s to maintain its spending programme is still increasing, just not quite so much.

  2. Roy Grainger
    March 31, 2014

    And to balance this up Labour published a list of 24 tax increases the coalition government brought in. Here they are:

    The government was lucky that this resulted in a distracting and entirely irrelevant argument over the fact the so-called bedroom “tax” was not on the list, however the 24 on the list are all correct. If the Chancellor had actually cut public spending instead of letting it increase through his time in office maybe he’d have a more impressive record on tax cuts.

    Reply The list of “24” includes in some cases counting each year an allowance or threshold has not been increased for inflation as an individual rise. The list also increases freezing ISA allowances, whereas now there has been a large and welcome increase.

    1. Roy Grainger
      March 31, 2014

      “Reply The list of “24″ includes in some cases counting each year an allowance or threshold has not been increased for inflation as an individual rise”

      Right. And you’re counting “Fuel duty is frozen” as a cut, so exactly the same approach.

  3. arschloch
    March 31, 2014

    Yes and what you will not read in “Pravda”, long term care costs remain an effective tax of 100 per cent on any assets over 24k and that includes the value of your house. While since the coalition took office four years ago, “fiscal drag” means the higher-rate threshold has dropped by £4,910 in real terms, putting an extra 1.4 million people into the 40% bracket.
    Yes a party of “tax cutters” pull the other one its got knobs on.

    1. Richard1
      April 1, 2014

      Why is paying for your own long term care a tax? Do you regard it as an effective 100% tax if someone spends all their money on food,clothing, housing and other essentials? Who else should pay?

  4. English Pensioner
    March 31, 2014

    Meanwhile we have proposals for a sugar tax and, today, a £10/month charge for belonging to the NHS. What the taxman giveth with one hand he soon takes back, plus interest, with the other.

    Reply Neither of these are Conservative proposals, and neither are before the Commons for approval!

    1. Jennifer A
      March 31, 2014

      English Pensioner,

      It seems that your generation is being blamed for all sorts of problems, from the NHS to the housing crisis.

      No other demographic is singled out for blame, in fact.

      Why is it OK to be ageist in Britain ?

  5. Lindsay McDougall
    March 31, 2014

    Can we afford all of these tax cuts? The OBR expects Government borrowing to fall from £108 billion in 2013/14 to £95 billion in 2014/15. We promised to fix the roof while the sun is shining. Well, the sun is shining and that’s not much of a fix.

    Reply Some of these tax cuts will generate more revenue, though the Income Tax threshold tax cuts are large and will reduce the revenue. The sun is not yet shining all the time – the economy is April shower territory at the moment, not the high sun of a rare dry July.

    1. ian wragg
      March 31, 2014

      Where is the money coming from for the increased levy by the EU. Where is the money coming from for increases in aid. Borrowing, that’s where its all coming from and its a disgrace that future generations are being expected to pay.
      Low tax Conservatives. Joke.

  6. Julie Innis
    March 31, 2014

    Part of Osborne’s omnishambles budget was the Granny tax where he froze age related personal tax allowances for over 65’s. This allowance helped pensioners on modest pensions who have very little means of boosting their incomes, it did not affect pensioners on benefits who pay no tax and it did not apply to wealthier pensioners but as usual those in the middle who have done the right thing and put by for their old age and have seen their pensions hammered in recent years through no fault of their own. Pensioners usually in a private pension scheme who to get the best of a bad deal have had to take out a non-index linked pension which means everything will go up except their pensions. Their tax take has gone up not down because a chunk of any modest increase in state pension is clawed straight back to the treasury. Sometimes by the time they have paid income tax and council tax, they are no better off than pensioners who have never bothered.

    Cameron and Clegg keep saying every tax payer is £800 better off, what they deliberately fail to mention is not if you’re a pensioner, you’re not.

    1. behindthefrogs
      April 2, 2014

      These pensioners are the very same ones who were forced to take their pensions as very low yielding annuities. Its all very well announcing jam tomorrow by allowing pensions to be taken out and invested.

      It is the current pensioners who are stuck with low yielding annuities and having their tax relief reduced. These are the ones who won’t be voting Tory next time.

  7. JoeSoap
    March 31, 2014

    Basically tax cuts for poor working people and businesses. It is half-a-job.
    In the middle, the 40% allowance hasn’t been raised with inflation, savings income has all but vanished, and CGT at 28% isn’t tapered for long term investments or index-linked to allow inflationary capital gains to remain untaxed.
    There is a long way to go to get back to the early days of Labour post-97, let alone any real Conservative territory.

  8. rick hamilton
    March 31, 2014

    Tax cuts work – bigger tax cuts work better.

    Conservatives are supposed to be the party of “Smaller government, lower taxes and less intrusion into peoples’ lives”. Not my words, but a quote from – of all people – Polly Toynbee. Sometimes your enemies identify you more clearly than your friends.

    It’s about time Conservatives campaigned on those principles and told big-state, politically correct, nannying lefties where to get off.

  9. behindthefrogs
    March 31, 2014

    Reducing corporation tax by 1% was a wrong decision. It would have been better to have used the money to have further reduced employers’ NICs. This is because the latter has extra effects beyond just returning money to companies. These partially occur because NICs are paid earlier in the product life cycle and so have a better effect on cash flow. The result could be higher employment, reduced export prices, better import replacement etc.

  10. margaret brandreth-j
    March 31, 2014

    The NI is important to most . I have paid NI for as long as I can remember . Indeed from the age of 18 years . At present my NI contributions were paid long after I was allowed to contribute . I have claimed back the overpayment and got a quarter back.I am also the victim of inland revenue twists an turns as far as tax is concerned. Whatever I do and how many times I present evidence I will not be listened to. The tax office write to me telling me about jobs I have had and list them with dates and then in the same breath tell me that they did n’t know so I have to pay for their mistakes. One trust tells me that they cannot contact the tax office and querie the tax codes as they are generated from the tax office , who have the final say , then the tax office say that anything incorrect is the employers liability. Then I question it again and I have to pay for their mistakes.

    I am afraid if all have been cheated as much as I have been tax breaks mean little.

    1. alan jutson
      March 31, 2014


      Just had the same communication problems with Inland Revenue with regard to tax codes and calculations for a family member.

      It has taken them nearly a year to show how their calculations are worked, I responded with my own calculations, a cheque, and a long letter of explanation a couple of weeks ago, and guess what.

      No notice taken of cheque which they have cashed, no notice taken of letter sent.

      All completely ignored, with a new tax code now from from yet another different office.

      So far now had dealings with Cardiff, Liverpool and this morning Belfast,

      It would seem that when you ring HMRC with a telephone number on any letter you receive, you go through to a central call centre that then automatically pushes out the call to ANY Tax office in the UK, thus you can never speak to the same person twice.

      The person I was speaking to said it did not matter, as they take notes and put on a central file which they can then look at, when I said have you got a copy of my letter on file, he said no.

      I suggested perhaps their notes were not an accurate substitute for proper more detailed communication from their customers, the response was we record all calls.
      I could not resist saying a recording does not help to read or refer back to letters !!!

      Given HMRC are getting powers to remove large sums from anyones Bank account (latest Budget announcement), until you prove yourself innocent, this is going to make the problem even worse, with possible serious financial consequences for those who find their accounts plundered.

      At the moment we have a family member who has overpaid tax for this tax year, and will overpay for the next tax year (wrong tax code) due to the present system taking so long to catch up.

      Hardly a customer friendly department, or indeed an efficient method of working I would suggest.

  11. Antisthenes
    March 31, 2014

    The Conservatives have brought about or are bringing about many reforms and are tackling or seeking to tackle problems that decades of the EU and the left have created for the UK. However the electorate are very likely to throw that all away come 2015 as they will elect Labour to govern them again. They will not only throw them away they will also allow RedEd and his government to implement more policies and practices that will damage the country’s prosperity and increase the size and power of the state. If you are a sane rational right wing libertarian then all you can do is throw your hands into the air in despairs and acknowledge that the electorate deserve what they will receive under Labour and the EU. Unfortunately those of us who recognise the danger and vote against will have to suffer along side them.

    1. uanime5
      March 31, 2014

      The Conservatives have brought about or are bringing about many reforms and are tackling or seeking to tackle problems that decades of the EU and the left have created for the UK.

      You mean the 10 years of high growth which only ended because of a global recession.

      They will not only throw them away they will also allow RedEd and his government to implement more policies and practices that will damage the country’s prosperity and increase the size and power of the state.

      As opposed to Osborne who implemented austerity which resulted in 4 years of stagnation, which damaged the country’s prosperity and increased the size of the country’s debt.

      acknowledge that the electorate deserve what they will receive under Labour and the EU

      Such as better working rights and fewer benefit cuts.

      1. Edward2
        April 1, 2014

        Considering the huge levels of stimulous the amount of growth during the tax borrow and spend spree by Labour was pathetically low Uni.

    2. waramess
      March 31, 2014

      Dream on

  12. Lifelogic
    March 31, 2014

    299+ tax increases under Cameron and still they have a huge deficit – which is also yet more deferred taxation. They are pro EU, tax borrow and waste, green crap socialists who cannot even keep their IHT promise. It was confirmed in the budget that they would do nothing on this until two years after they have left office at least. Why trust anything they ever say, I just on actions we have reduced pension contributions, a reduced cap, 45% income tax, IHT real increases for the last 5 years…………..

    Endless greencrap on the BBC today and from the chief scientist (a medical man) a very few sensible comments from Pro Tol (who refused to put his name to the absurd tone of the largely religious document) were surprisingly for the absurd BBC included for once.

    The vague and misleading words they use are a lesson in how to hugely deceive the public without quite lying. Confusing climate change with catastrophic man made climate change.

    Some one should tell our chief scientific officer that nothing is ever reversible he needs to study some physics.

    1. uanime5
      March 31, 2014

      Some one should tell our chief scientific officer that nothing is ever reversible he needs to study some physics.

      If you’d studied physics you’d know entropy is always increasing because it can’t be reversed.

      1. libertarian
        March 31, 2014


        I actually enjoy reading your posts as it reassures me that my beliefs are fairly robust. As you are wrong about just about everything you post I’m reassured that socialism is just as wrong.

        For your information entropy doesn’t always increase, it seeks to find thermodynamic equilibrium.

        Details here

      2. Lifelogic
        March 31, 2014

        Exactly my point.

        So why is he wittering on about irreversible changes.

      3. David Price
        April 1, 2014

        On the reversal of entropy there is as yet insufficient data for a meaningful answer.

    2. stred
      April 1, 2014

      So far, as far as I know, entropy- or the arrow of time, is not reversible. However, it should dilute physical extemes rather than increase them and therefore not increase climate change.

  13. alan jutson
    March 31, 2014


    Would certainly agree Tax cuts are the way to go, as we need to encourage people to continue to earn and spend their own money.

    If the population spends, then this circle of money use attracts VAT, and thus a tax take at every turn.

    Given the above, why not cut taxes further and harder, because he could have, if he had cut expenditure as originally promised.

    Certainly agree that the tax free personal allowance increases have been very good, but they could and should be extended still much further.

    No one on the minimum wage should be taxed on income, when those on most Benefits who are above the Tax Free Allowance are paid Tax Free.

    If Mr Osbourne was serious about tax cutting, then why raise taxes and use fiscal drag in other areas.

    1. Lifelogic
      March 31, 2014

      “If Mr Osbourne was serious about tax cutting” – he is not even serious about keeping his IHT threshold promise at the last election – but he has introduced 299+ tax increases. But they he has failed to raise much more in tax despite or perhaps rather because of this.

      He need to cut the huge waste in government on green crap, HS2, payments to the feckless and the endless parasitic activity of government.

  14. uanime5
    March 31, 2014

    The aim is to get more people off welfare into work, and to create the conditions for more good jobs to be created for people to improve their living standard.

    And the chancellor is mainly achieving this by forcing the unemployed into 6 month long workfare schemes where the unemployed are officially considered in work even though they’re not being paid. So they’re not good jobs and this scheme is destroying paid jobs because no one will pay for employees if they can get someone to work for free.

    Having more people be underemployed or on zero hours contracts to reduce unemployment also isn’t an example of a good job.

    Corporation tax will be cut by 1 per cent to 21 per cent. It has fallen from 28 per cent in 2010 and will fall further to 20 per cent in April 2015, making it the lowest corporation tax rate in the G7.

    And what effect has this tax cut had on unemployment over the past 4 years? Are the biggest companies hiring more people with all the savings they’ve made since 2010? The evidence suggest not. It also hasn’t attracted more companies to the UK or prevented employers from moving to other countries

    Tax on business investment virtually abolished for most businesses.

    Business rates reformed

    Employer National Insurance Contributions will be cut by up to £2,000.

    Again what evidence is there that these tax cuts have reduced unemployment. You can’t just list several tax cuts for businesses and expect people to just accept that they’ve somehow reduced unemployment without any evidence showing this.

    I could claim that any increase in employment has been due to increased demand from the EU and that the tax cuts have been irrelevant, and I’ll be just as right as any other claim not supported by evidence.

    The income tax-free personal allowance increases to £10,000.

    While this will benefit people in work it doesn’t have any benefits for the unemployed, nor is it likely to create many jobs.

  15. Old Albion
    March 31, 2014

    JR. You forgot to mention a tax increase on the people of England only.
    Tomorrow prescription charges rise by twenty pence to £8.05. But only for the English, of course.

  16. bigneil
    March 31, 2014

    So everyone will be better off? – the queues at foodbanks ( mainly appear to be white british working people on low wages) will vanish then? -I won’t hold my breath.
    Just more borrowing – -yet a small piece the other day said 160,000 inactive East Europeans had cost the NHS £1.5bn – yes -uncontrolled mass migration is wonderful -it doesn’t even include housing, benefits money or schooling. Isn’t it about time the REAL cost of supporting freeloaders was shown Mr Redwood – or wouldn’t the govt dare show us?

    1. yulwaymartyn
      March 31, 2014

      Where is the source of this information about 160,000 East Europeans costing the NHS £1.5 billion. ?

  17. waramess
    March 31, 2014

    Hard not to be negative about this government,Spending £100 billion and the rest in excess of its income and committed to no unfunded tax cuts and what do we find, shortly before an election? Unfunded tax cuts.

    Maybe I missed something and they will now give tax cuts from the proceeds of growth.

    Thank goodness I got out in time. The growth is generated from a housing boom that now requires a multiple of 10 times average wages to buy the average house. Only the rich and the landlords now have the resources to play this poisonous game

    This is how to fuel what Mises referred to as malinvestment and what the rest of us might refer to as bad investments.

    Take away the housing boom and what is there left; take the key out of the ignition and will the engine keep running?

    The Conservatives are now doing some real and intentioned damage to the economy in order to secure the next election. £22 billion balance of payments deficit in the first quarter and more than £70 billion in the past year.

    One has to ask the Enoch question: have the chums taken complete leave of their senses?

    There are a myriad of ways to cut the deficit without affecting growth so, why after three years have the chums failed to address them.

    If the next election is won by the Conservatives it will be by deceit and all those associated with them will be tarnished.

    Why should anybody now consider a Conservative win to be important (other than the chums and their followers) when they enact policies that might be more in keeping with a bunch of spivs

  18. petermartin2001
    March 31, 2014

    Yes, tax cuts do work. It is a pity VAT wasn’t included in the list. The taxes that have been included, with the exception of fuel duty, are only paid by a minority of taxpayers.

    You don’t hear people on the bus complaining of taxes on business investment or the level of corporation tax, but you do hear plenty of complaints on VAT being at 20%. 20% is far too high for a regressive tax paid by those on the lowest of incomes.

    Cutting VAT will enable everyone to afford more, spending will pick up, the tax take will increase, people will find jobs and then pay tax and NI insurance themselves, rather than receive State benefits. Some might say this was Keynesian economics, others would just call it common sense.

  19. nigel
    April 1, 2014

    While the Chancellor’s aim of creating “full employment” is admirable, it is completely unattainable as long as there is no control on immigration. None of the reporters seemed to ask this question.

    JR: With a general election a little over a year away, is it about time to ask your readers what they would like to see in the Conservative manifesto?

    Reply I could do that if there is any interest, but most of the people contributing to this site make quite clear their scorn for the Conservative party so I doubt they would be very interested in what we put in our Manifesto.

    1. Cliff. Wokingham
      April 1, 2014

      I am a Conservative supporter and I do not have scorn for the party however, like many Conservatives, I suspect, I do have scorn for our leader and the direction he has taken the party.
      At the present time, I do not feel there is a party with a Conservative agenda to vote for.
      I have considered UKIP and did feel I would lend them my vote however, when Mr Farage suspended a Councillor for expressing a non PC opinion, even if it was a daft opinion, I thought that UKIP would just join the existing three “BBC” parties if and when it got into power.

      I feel lucky to have a proper Conservative for my MP however, as discussed with our host many times, how can I vote for him without, by implication, backing Mr Cameron? The party system, in my opinion, is much of the problem with our political system. Too much power is vested in the party leader and ambitious party members rely far too much on the leader’s benevolence to get up the career ladder and thus will not rock the boat by saying no to that leader and that leader’s policies, no matter how far away from the party’s ideology, those policies may be. I crave a Conservative Party which is Conservative, not what we have now under Mr Cameron.

      No real choice means no real democracy.

      Reply On the issues that matter most like the powers of the EU and war in Syria I exercise my own judgemenmt rather than accepting a party whip line.

      1. Cliff. Wokingham
        April 1, 2014


        Sorry, just to be clear; the reason I said I was lucky to have you as my MP, is because you are still a real Conservative with your own mind and will and, at the risk of sounding clumsy, you are not exactly at the start of your political career and are not likely to see high office again and therefore, do not feel the need to brown nose the party leader, in order to advance your career. Remember in modern British party politics, views which differ from those of the leader are just not allowed; we often hear of politicians being “slapped down by the party leader” if they drift even slightly from the party line or the BBC agenda; this stifles debate in my opinion and makes our democracy even less democratic than it already is.

        I am sure you know from private Emails which we’ve exchanged, that I respect you and support you as a person and as a Conservative MP but, I cannot support Mr Cameron and his so called version of Conservatism. Sometimes I feel that having to choose which party to vote for today, is like choosing to be shot, hung or strangled because, none of the parties really offer anything which is different or Conservative in the traditional meaning of the name.

    2. nigel
      April 1, 2014

      I agree that many who contribute are rather scornful of the current Conservative led Government, but I am sure that there are many who read your articles, and only comment now and again. Whilst we may not agree with many things the Government has done or not done, and sometimes feel frustrated by this, many of us realise that a Conservative Government is our only hope of getting something done towards running the country as we would wish. I think if you were to try to stimulate some sensible discussion about what the next manifesto should contain, it might prove more constructive than you expect.

  20. Edward2
    April 1, 2014

    Then perhaps the way to decide on your voting decision is to consider if you prefer a Labour or Lib Lab coalition to a Conservative Government Cliff.
    Whilst like you I have many criticism of the Coalition and Mr Cameron,the thought of Labours effect on the country fills me with dread.

    1. Cliff. Wokingham
      April 1, 2014


      I too fear both a Labour and a LabLib coalition but, will we really get a Conservative government under Mr Cameron’s leadership? Would we not just get another version of socialism under a BluLabour Party led by Mr Cameron? I have never felt so disillusioned with politics and our political system in my life and I have a very long memory!

      I feel stuck between a rock and a hard place; Labour would deliver more financial mismanagement and make our nation’s finances even worse than they already are and in the latter scenario, Mr Clegg et al would just egg them on to even more financial stupidity and ruin.

      I remember joking years ago about how, in many northern towns, if you put a red rosette on a monkey, people would vote for it but, I now feel that the Conservative leadership assumes that those of us who have supported the party and it’s ideology, will just vote for them no matter what they offer and no matter how far removed the leader’s policies are from true Conservatism and all the values which have served our party, nation and our population so well in the past. Many of Mr Cameron’s policies recently, have felt like a slap in the face for those of us who have supported the party in the past.

      The ONLY good thing that may come from a Conservative defeat, would be a new leader who just may be a real Conservative, however another Five years of a Labour or a LabLib coalition government, may be too high a price to pay.

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