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BBC funding future

Nick Robinson | 18:04 UK time, Tuesday, 19 October 2010

The BBC licence fee is to be frozen for the next six years at £145.50.

The BBC will also take over the cost of the World Service and Monitoring Service, currently funded by the Foreign Office, and pay the government's contribution to funding the Welsh-language channel S4C.

A formal announcement will be made tomorrow.

The BBC is refusing to comment but insiders say that this is a significantly better settlement than the proposal to force the BBC to pay the cost of free TV licences for the elderly. It will mean a 16% real-terms cut in the BBC's funds over the next six years as against a 25% cut over four.

Some ministers are, I'm told, presenting this settlement as "reining in" the Corporation's costs.


  • Comment number 1.

    Hello BBC.

    Welcome to the real world.

    Perhaps now you could just introduce the next programme on TV rather then wasting our money showing us a chorus line of elephants dressed in tutus dancing in front of a full orchestra on the slopes of Mount Kilimanjaro whilst some overpaid continuity announcer tells us in's the news next...

  • Comment number 2.

    "Some ministers are, I'm told, presenting this settlement as "reining in" the Corporation's costs."

    How would you present a 16% real terms cut? Wild extravagance of a type not seen since the hey-day of Rome?

  • Comment number 3.

    This does not sound unreasonable - effectively a small (less than 5%) year on year reduction. Should be acheivable by efficiency savings.

    A result of the alleged deal between BBC and Lord Snooty for the BBC not to oppose the cuts if he did not slash the license fee?

    Sounds like rumour confirmed to me.

  • Comment number 4.

    Good: it'll hopefully make the BBC do something about its top heavy management.

    Bad: Sky is in the ascendence, the media is about to get even more biased than it was before.

  • Comment number 5.

    Given the ridiculous pay given to some of the BBC's "top talent" over the years a reduction in their income, as well as the increase in things to cover, can only be a good thing. Hopefully it might mean that the BBC refocus from "big names" to people who can do the job regardless of their status, thus creating stars rather than pandering to them!

  • Comment number 6.

    They should have gone for a numeric decrease in the fee and put the diff in the defence budget.

    All the luvvie will moan cannot do a chat show for less than £6m what a shame.

    know wonder that the BBC has been running programmes on the cuts maybe they should have done that before the election.

    Wonder how anit-tory the BBC will now become

    Just love it Just love it

  • Comment number 7.

    What, less than £3 a week for the Beeb? Wow that's cheap. And now being frozen too!

  • Comment number 8.

    I hear Danny Alexander has let confidential papers be photographed as he left his office.

    Apparently it confirms the PWC prediction of 1/2 million jobs to be lost in the public sector alone.

    Presumably the forecast 1/2 million (direct) job losses in the private sector is also on target. (Plus indirect losses in the private sector when all that lot stop spending)

    Well done Bertie Wooster - Irish style melt down by Christmas?

  • Comment number 9.

    So can we expect a few journalists to defect to Sky?

    Presumably the government and BBC might consider offering a modest discount to anyone who pays for two or more years in advance?

    Viewed from the BBC I suppose that it could have been worse.

  • Comment number 10.

    Cut is still way less than most other Cabinet departements and most people real lives. It should be cut by 25% minimum. I'll given the diff to the defence budget

  • Comment number 11.

    Most people are facing a pay cut/loss of income loss of jobs etc, why shoudl the BBC have a privilage given its less than even handed status in the last 13 years ?

  • Comment number 12.

    This is disgraceful interference from the government bullying the BBC an independent organisation into carrying some of its expenditure.

  • Comment number 13.

    Oh Dear.

    they've cut back on Moderators.

  • Comment number 14.

    We are more than willing to pay an increased licence fee. Why is the Coalition govt punishing BBC. We get very good value from both radio and TV, and the quality of the programs, presenters etc etc are second to none. Compare the £145/year we pay for BBC licence fee to the £720 for Sky, the BBC is superior and remains one of the glories of civilization. Please stop the BBC bashing.

  • Comment number 15.

    Oooh but its chilly out here in the real world where austerity is the order of the day.

    Glad to see the BBC staff will be soon joining the rest of us out here as a 16% decrease in the capital value of the TV Licence is imposed on the BBC ... you're going to like it - not a lot!

  • Comment number 16.

    At last a bit of common sense, having said that a 10% cut would have been a bit better.

  • Comment number 17.

    Not before time, maybe now we can get rid of a doubling up of newsreaders , two presenters for every programme, and the "experts" who seem to populate the screen in one guise or another , depending on the need. Maybe half as many presenters/personalities at sporting events might also be a saving. Another large sum of money might be saved by cutting the obscene amounts of money paid to some "entertainers" and to the BBC board which appears to serve no useful purpose other than providing income for a privileged few of the great and good. A decimation of retained correspondents in the worlds backwaters might also save a considerable cost, I'm sure the gap would be adequately filled by the news agencies for less cost. The BBC should also stop paying satellite companies for highlights of sporting events on which they were outbid, this is a ridiculous situation where in effect the BBC is subsidising the competition which outbid them .

  • Comment number 18.

    I can now look forward to weekly shows on the development of the Medieval catapult and its use in contemporary society

  • Comment number 19.

    Just listened to Liam Fox confirming what the tories on here were telling me was untrue -

    Carriers with no planes that can fly off them until (he says) 2019

    As the interviewer commented - this is starting to sound like the kind of farce no one could make up.

    It's a great time to laugh at the tories.

  • Comment number 20.

    I listen to the world service sometimes during the day when im at work and it is an excellent service. Just like most of the other work the bbc does. Im sure there would be a way to cut costs but quality costs money and i believe the bbc is important. Especially when you consider some alternatives ie....right wing trash blogging sites like guido fawkes... radio stations with openly right wing presenters on the busiest shows (LBC). tv news stations owned by rupert murdoch.
    Protecting the beeb is essential.

  • Comment number 21.

    They could get rid of BBC Scotland for a start as many people in Scotland feel that the bias against the Scottish Government by BBC Scfotland is unsupportable

  • Comment number 22.

    There is only one winner in this: The Tories' Chum: Murdoch. I would happily pay an increase in the licence fee in line with inflation for the next six years. What the BBC gives is excellent value for money - Even you Nick !!

  • Comment number 23.

    Strange that for every post accusing the beeb of left-wing bias there's one accusing it of right-wing bias...

    What would you rather have BBC or contest.

  • Comment number 24.

    First the Chilean miners are rescued.

    Now the BBC is being reined in.

    Can't wait to read the next piece of really good news.

    It's just like the bus service. You wait for ages and then they all come at once.

  • Comment number 25.

    Could you stop making Eastenders now please, its pants.

  • Comment number 26.

    I wonder if these small cuts will give more balanced reporting of news and politics? I suspect not until the threat of licence reduction or removal will we get a balanced view reported.
    Hopefully the reduced amount of cash will result in removal of a certain declared labour mouthpiece like K.Macguire will not be seen anymore, and I won't have to persist in complaints of bias regularly to bbc complaints and my MP.

  • Comment number 27.

    If the 16% has been calculated before the effects of funding world service, monitoring service and SC4 are added we can all look forward to yet another public service forced into decline by these philistines. The temptation for the BBC will be to stealthily wind down the World Service. I dont think we will see Daily Mail editorials complaining about the reception in Borneo.

  • Comment number 28.

    Well they could start saving some money by cutting your salary Nick - unless of course you start earning it by holding to account these ConDems who you let off far too lightly IMHO. Can you just imagine if Gordon Brown or Tony Blair had annouced such massive cuts in the front line personnel of our armed forces - what your reports and those of others in the media might have bnbeen like ? As tame as they are today ? I think we expect more form those in your role who have been equally savage with governments and oppositon politicians whatever their own political peruasion. Maybe you should dig out some old VT of one of your predecessors John Cole - a solid Labourist in his vuiews yet put everyone on the spot and presented a balanced view. Take note you also may have to work harder and longer for less in your pocket like ome of us poor public sector workers will have to. There's a big demonstration in Bonn Square tomorrow againts the cuts - any chance the beeb might over it ?

  • Comment number 29.

    @17 kaybraes

    You can have my vote for the Chairmanship.

    This is exactly the kind of sound management thinking that is currently entirely lacking in the corporation.

    Waste abounds.

    If the government negotiators had had their wits about them (will the day ever dawn) they would have made the corporation take on both the World Service costs and the over 75's licence fee subsidy.

    That would really have put the pressure on the management to perform in relation to their grossly inflated salary costs.

    A DG at six times the cost of the PM. You're 'avin a laff.

  • Comment number 30.

    @27 watriler

    The only Philistines who will oversee any reduction in output and quality at the BBC will be the top layer of managers seeking to protect their positions of unjustified privilege.
    Read kaybraes @17 to understand what is wrong with this abominable, poll tax funded Corporation.
    If you really believe they will succumb to the temptation you identify I cannot understand which side of the argument you are on!

  • Comment number 31.

    The BBC throws millions at over-rated 'talent' (people like Moyles, Norton, Fry, Ross, Mitchell, Clarkson), spends fortunes on campaigns to get viewers to switch to digital, go on-line or watch CBBC and tries to compete with ITV in producing mind-numbing rubbish every Saturday Night. The standard of most of the journalism on this site is shoddy and frankly if any other publically funded institution was so oblivious to the opinions of its users, it would have been abolished years ago.
    I'd stop paying the licence fee tomorrow, given the choice.

  • Comment number 32.

    Spot on the button, for the most part.

    I'm not against a licence fee as such, but am fundametally opposed to the manner in which it is currently being spent.

    Your list of "talent" did not include my personal favourite totally untalented individual who I will decline to identify as Mrs Ebahgum appears to quite enjoy "Strictly Come Dancing: It Take Two".

    As Mrs Ebahgum is, in every other respect a paragon of virtue, I suspect its for the programme performers rather than its presenter.

  • Comment number 33.

    Why on earth as a license fee payer should I be funding the BBC to broadcast overseas ? What modicum of benefit do I get as a fee payer ? This is an outrage, it is like Tesco charging me extra so they can hand out free baguettes on the streets of calais.

  • Comment number 34.

    I really hope that the BBC has the guts to call Cameron's bluff and will announce next week their plans to close the World Service, or atleast make it a skeleton of what it is now.

    Don't get me wrong, its a world respected service which gives much credit to UK plc, but its not specifically something licence payers, 99% of whom are mainly in the UK should have to pay for.

    If the BBC did have the guts, I'd love to watch Cameron's inevitable U turn on the subject. Public outcry would never let it be shut, but with the 6 year freeze the BBC can argue they cannot afford to take it on. Why are politicians such simpletons, be far better to force BBC to take on the cost of licences for the over 75s

  • Comment number 35.

    As the World Service will now be paid for directly by the licence fee perhaps the BBC will make more use of this superb service which has languished in the dark recesses of broadcasting for far too long.
    World news on TV is not available to large ares of the world that the radio can reach.
    There are some very good TV news items which would easily translate to radio. The world does not stop at our shores but we hear and see little of what goes on abroad except for politics in the bigger picture, or babies crying in disaster areas, which paints a false picture of the country concerned.

  • Comment number 36.

    Not sure why the government should have been paying for the Welsh language S4C in the first place, or why the BBC as a whole should now take over the cost. Surly if people in wales Want Welsh programmes, this should be a subscription service - not paid for by everyone else.

  • Comment number 37.

    3. At 6:24pm on 19 Oct 2010, jon112dk wrote:
    So in your mind one allegation and or one rumor equals the truth. You may have just opened your Pandora's Box.

  • Comment number 38.

    8. At 6:33pm on 19 Oct 2010, jon112dk wrote:
    Once again you do not look at the whole story or do not wish to. The report went on to say;

    "However, fiscal consolidation should not lead to a double-dip recession, as many fear, because job losses will be offset by lower interest rates that encourage private sector growth, said John Hawksworth, chief economist at PwC. The job losses "will be a drag on the pace of the economic recovery, but should not derail it altogether," he said."

    Very selective with your information me thinks or are you just very sloppy with your research, what research you say.....

  • Comment number 39.

    19. At 7:36pm on 19 Oct 2010, jon112dk wrote:
    Just listened to Liam Fox confirming what the tories on here were telling me was untrue -

    Carriers with no planes that can fly off them until (he says) 2019
    I think you must listen as you read, very selectively. F35 to be operational by 2015, I did notice you have dropped one year perhaps there are more to follow.

    He did also state as did the head of the armed forces that you can only play with the hand you have been dealt and these cards were dealt by Brown and Co.

  • Comment number 40.

    31. At 10:01pm on 19 Oct 2010, JonBW2 wrote:
    I totally agree with one exception, Top Gear and before you jump down my throat the only reason is that I read recently that it was the biggest earner in syndication fees for the BBC. As they say every little helps....

  • Comment number 41.

    Is there any chance that the BBC might publish the Balen Report that we paid for?

  • Comment number 42.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 43.

    #41 PacificRising

    Don't hold your breath! If (as widely suspected) the Balen Report found evidence of bias in the BBC's middle east coverage, that will be the reason its findings have been withheld from the public. It's hard to draw any other conclusion. If the Balen Report had given the BBC a clean bill of health, you can be sure it would have been published. The allegation of bias is serious enough. The real scandal now is the amount of money the BBC has allegedly spent to prevent publication.

  • Comment number 44.

    Nick, I keep reading about the:

    "16% real-terms cut in the BBC's funds over the next six years"

    Can you please break this down a bit please?

    The BBC is taking on a lot of extra cots (monitoring service, S4C, World Service). Does this mean that the BBC will get inflation linked rises only, hence the "16% real-term" cut?

    If so, what measure of inflation is used? I rather suspect there is a great deal of hidden inflation (as is currently supposedly happening in Argentina).

  • Comment number 45.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 46.

    14. At 7:00pm on 19 Oct 2010, Mary wrote:
    We are more than willing to pay an increased licence fee.

    Be intrigued to learn the basis for that 'we'.

    45. At 02:41am on 20 Oct 2010, Donald Rockhopper wrote: least spare us the cut 'n' paste. It's at that point tedious comment becomes propaganda.

    Agree entirely.

  • Comment number 47.

    @ 45

    I was unaware that this blog was just the preserve of the failed socialist left and not a blog open for all particularly as I pay for it through the TV Tax.

    I should have known as my comment regarding the political bias of the news editors has been censored. - nothing controversial.

    DistantTraveller has made a similar point to me and I don't understand why the BBC and its supporters can't recognise the fact.

  • Comment number 48.

    "The BBC licence fee is to be frozen for the next six years at £145.50."

    Good. About time BBC staff were paid a great deal less.

  • Comment number 49.

    I know it is probably me being thick but...where does "paying" for the FREE TV licences come in to it ? Surely the Govt has not previously bought and paid to the BBC a license for each over 75 ?? Just change the rules so households with a 75=+ Year old do not need a license and cut out all the bureaucracy.

  • Comment number 50.

    What has the BBC got to do with politicians....take away all powers the Govt has to mess with the media..the last thing should be to have the shown to be corrupt MP's deciding what TV/Radio service we get ! How many more things are going to be ruined by a coin toss decision over a day or 2 instead of professional analysis and planning of these services ?

  • Comment number 51.

    Moderator - When are you going to publish my comment from c9hrs ago.

  • Comment number 52.


    People have gone to war over issues like that. Have you not heard 'No taxation without representation'

    A non governmental body can't raise a tax and have no accountability to that public. The Government has to oversee the BBC, but stay out of editorial decisions (however wrong they are).

  • Comment number 53.

    14 - "Compare the £145/year we pay for BBC licence fee to the £720 for Sky"

    OK, will do.

    Don't like Sky, don't pay for Sky.

    Don't like the see...there's the difference, then.

  • Comment number 54.

    "40. At 11:43pm on 19 Oct 2010, Chris London wrote:

    I totally agree with one exception, Top Gear and before you jump down my throat the only reason is that I read recently that it was the biggest earner in syndication fees for the BBC."

    I sort of like Top Gear (although the best ever TV car stunt was done on Fith Gear and can be found by googling 'fith gear loop the loop').

    But the main reason for liking Top Gear is that Jeremy Clarkson seems to get up left wingers collective noses.

  • Comment number 55.

    "I was unaware that this blog was just the preserve of the failed socialist left and not a blog open for all particularly as I pay for it through the TV Tax."

    Welcome to the real world.

  • Comment number 56.


    Oh Look mummy, another lefty troll. Havent seen one of those around here recently...

  • Comment number 57.

    53. AndyC555
    You are right. I will discontinue my Sky contract today. I think Murdoch empire is clearly behind this cuts. He really hates anything public!

  • Comment number 58.

    Those bleating about BBC bias sound like the managers of football teams always complaining about the ref. No, the ref's not biased, you are.
    Andy, you know the cost of everything but the value of nothing. You don't want to pay a TV licence, without which there would be no BBC. That might excite you but most people would miss the BBC. For all its faults, it is unsurpassed as an independent broadcaster.
    However, I do wish it would challenge the cuts programme, rather than accept it apparently unquestioningly.

    Aircraft carrier with no planes..ha ha ... sorry couldn't resist it.

  • Comment number 59.

    Everyone will have to accept that these cuts are happening and make the best of a bad lot. That includes the highly paid BBC personel .maybe we may get less reality/barging hunting type programmes.

  • Comment number 60.


    Aircraft carrier with no planes only because buying votes in Rosyth is cheap at half the price isnt it?

    After all, it worked with Northern Rock as well.

    If you cant deliver anything for the poor that you claim to be all for then the least you can do is buy off their votes...

    Thats all Gordon did with Cowdenbeath and Kirkcaldy....

  • Comment number 61.

    "For all its faults, it is unsurpassed as an independent broadcaster."


    And you lot have got the nerve to call Murdoch biased! (guffaw!!!)

    Your own propaganda mouthpiece WOULD be seen as independent wouldnt it, through them 1970's Elton John sized rose tinted raybans?


  • Comment number 62.

    58 - "Andy, you know the cost of everything but the value of nothing. You don't want to pay a TV licence, without which there would be no BBC."

    And you appear to know the shapes of letters and perhaps the sounds of words when those letters are put together but not the meaning of those words. Where did I say that I didn't want to pay a TV licence?

    Someone had compared Sky at £720 a year (or whatever) with the BBC. I pointed out it was a meaningless comparison as you didn't HAVE to pay for Sky

    Two most recent Ex-Prime Ministers, one without morals, the other without a brain. Sorry, couldn't resist it.

  • Comment number 63.

    In what kind of crazy world did the Govt agree to pay the license fee to the BBC for people over 75? I guess most people thought that free TV licenses for the over 75 meant no-one had to pay for them, not that the tax payer stumped up the cash!

  • Comment number 64.

    This geoup is one of the worst I have seen amywhere on the web. It is just polarised by idiots who will never see any other side of an argument - and most of them Fubar do not seem to be lefty trolls as you seem to suggest - if you count up the contributions on most Nick Robinson blogs tahat I have seen I think you will find most of the bile spewed forth is neo-liberal right wing horsecrap. the BBC is the envy of the worsl - I don't know how much you or others ion hre have trevelled but I have been lucky enough to hadv deon so extensively. If you want to go down the route of the USA go spedn a couple of days ther and watch the drivel that comes out of the screen - we are heading that way here and some might say it could be no coincidence that Murdoch supports the Torioes and then they get tough on the Beeb by freezing their licence income. I despair if this is a miocrocosm of the woder poulation in the UK but I am sure it is probably not.

  • Comment number 65.

    Why is it that all of the BBCs political commentators are right wing? Should we not have a balance of left and right? After all they wield enormous influence when they report and ask questions using bias(or unsubtle bias as more recently).

  • Comment number 66.

    "This geoup is one of the worst I have seen amywhere on the web. It is just polarised by idiots who will never see any other side of an argument"

    ^ Off topic, but I couldn't agree more.

    Without naming names, there are a handful of folks here who frequent these forums daily for what appears to be the sole purpose of baiting others with condescending bile.

    What's telling is that the most aggressive, bullish and deliberately risible comments tend to come from those with a deep blue hue, which for me simply paints a 'cartoon' portrait of Old Testament Tories as being the same conceited dinosaurs that they were during the Thatcher years: a case of "schadenfreude uber alles". Which is a shame; and if I were a Tory voter then I would certainly be embarrassed by some of the views expressed here.

    But hey... welcome to the Internet! Obviously, people are free to do what they like with their spare time (or more likely, time spent at work). And if schoolyard sneering on forums is what floats their boat, then I can only offer them my pity and hope that other aspects of their lives are invested in more meaningful and rewarding causes.

    After all, "We're all in it together!" Aren't, we?

  • Comment number 67.

    You sound just like Alex ferguson blaming the ref. It's not the BBC that's biased, it's you - surely you accept that you have political leanings - all the evidence on here seems to point in that direction - hence it's impossible for you to evaluate fairly what is and what isn't unbiased broadcasting.
    Leave the BBC alone, you may be glad of it one day.

  • Comment number 68.

    ..and another thing if there is a better, less biased broadcaster around, as you suggest from your mocking tone, perhaps you could tell me its name?

  • Comment number 69.

    62 Andy
    Your phrase:
    "Don't like Sky, don't pay for Sky.

    Don't like the see...there's the difference, then."

    does seem to indicate that you begrudge having to pay the licence fee. Or do you enjoy having to pay for things you don't like?
    I think more clarity and less sneering would help.

  • Comment number 70.

    67. At 2:55pm on 20 Oct 2010, Laughatthetories wrote:

    "You sound just like Alex ferguson blaming the ref. It's not the BBC that's biased, it's you"

    Hah, quelle surprise, Laugh. You would say that, wouldnt you?

    Doesnt all that knee-jerking give you arthritis eventually??

  • Comment number 71.

    I dont deny that I have political "leanings" Laugh.

    The issue I've got is people have a choice. They dont have to listen to me. They can just turn over or scroll past my posts or refer them and it doesnt cost them a penny.

    The TV tax does cost. Whether you watch it or not. I dont think there is anything wrong with demanding political and editorial neutrality.

    The other news providers, you can take or leave. You dont have to pay for them, in the UK anyway, if you dont want them. Personally, I would prefer to hold true to what my old socialist sixth form mistress told us twenty five years ago.

    Take the information in from any number of sources, particularly the broadsheets. Find out the information for yourselves. See the whole spectrum and then Make Your Own Mind Up.

    The BBC is a state funded broadcasting apparatus that is funded by EVERYONE with a TV licence. Regardless of their political leanings. Nation Should Speak Truth Unto Nation.

    That episode with Gilligan has a lot to answer for.

  • Comment number 72.

    "What's telling is that the most aggressive, bullish and deliberately risible comments tend to come from those with a deep blue hue..."

    Now theres a surprise.... never would have guessed that....

  • Comment number 73.

    Those complaining about the BBC really do need to look at the content on the other networks. Do you favour biased reports from SKY for example, perhaps some do, if so why not do your blogging on SKY rather than use BBC sites if you really do think it is biased or poor.

    £145 per year is a small price to pay for 2 Main channels, 2 childrens channels which i'm sure most parents use (i know i do) 1 News channel, loads of radio content and a pretty good website.

    SKY want a weaker BBC so that Mr Murdock can start charging people for news online and increase SKYs dominance of TV. I dont see ITV taking up any slack and in fact SKY own a large share of ITV. Without the BBC, SKY would have a major control on News coverage in this country.

  • Comment number 74.


    Could you squeeze in a few more badly spelled stereotypes? I'm sure you could you know, if you really tried...

    Listen up Red and listen good. If you think that anyone who disagrees with the red viewpoint is a rabid baby eating, Murdoch subscribing tory, I doubt you'd have travelled very far in your life. Probably not beyond the Oxford Ring Road. Understood?

    Vive La Difference.

    Its not the right who are incapable of putting forward a political argument without resorting to stereotypical cheapshots, its your lot. How many times do you see left wing posters having to resort to "yeah, but what would YOU do, Tories?" rather than "we cocked it up. We should have done it differently". And as soon as someone from the right DOES present an alternative, your lot are all over them like hyenas.

    And you wonder why people get exasperated and end up playing you by your own rules - ie, no rules, no blow too low and anything goes?

    Sort your own house out before criticising anyone elses.

  • Comment number 75.

    But Fubar you can demand political and editorial neutrality but would you (or I) recognise it if we got it? We are all subject to all kinds of influences which make us what we are - you, your 6th form mistress, me, my mate Terry in the pub etc etc so none of us can judge what is neutral. Is there such a thing anyway? How can you begin to define it? We can't even agree what is a fact, and what isn't. At least the BBC have various watchdogs scrutinising their output for blatant bias. Does Murdoch.
    So just pay up and be glad you can write what you like. You'd be locked up in some countries ;)


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