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Over the course of the next 36 hours we’ll be bringing you all the most important updates as you vote in the 2017 general election as a business owner or manager.
Finance rears its head once more, with Bill Street, head of investment for EMEA at State Street Global Advisors, explaining the fall in Pound was to be expected.
“While sterling weakened in the final weeks of the election campaign, markets still expected a Conservative majority, therefore this initial sterling weakness is no surprise and is likely to continue as international investors demand a higher risk premium. Sterling is already substantially undervalued against the dollar and euro, reflecting future uncertainties. Such under-valuations do tend to correct over long time horizons and it is possible the election result will lead to a softer Brexit.
“The initial risk-off market reaction will drive gilt yields sharply lower. Over the short term, political uncertainty still reigns supreme. However, the emergence of a Labour-led coalition could trigger a bearish environment for gilt yields. As the market prices in campaign promises of fiscal stimulus and a softer-Brexit, we believe that gilt yields could be on course for a sustained upward move over the medium term.”
Jake Trask, FX research director at OFX, suggested May’s “horrendous miscalculation to have a snap election” has hammered sterling overnight.
“After the Brexit vote and Trump’s win, the polls have again proved to be untrustworthy and sterling has tanked as result. A Tory majority was priced into the market but the reality of a hung parliament has seen GBP/USD drop from 1.2950 to 1.27. May has yet to make a statement over her future, however should she decide to step aside we may see the pound take another leg down”.
As the UK wakes up to a confirmed hung Parliament, Tina Riches, national tax partner at Smith & Williamson is first to voice opinion, claiming there will need to be an adjustment to the strategic direction of a number of high profile issues, not least of all taxation.
“Not only do we have a hung Parliament, but we will have a new Financial Secretary to the Treasury. Given that Jane Ellison, who as the previous post-holder, lost her parliamentary seat, will no doubt have a period of uncertainty while a new minister is appointed and gets up to speed in providing strategic oversight of the UK tax system.
“Given the Conservatives have the largest number of seats in the House of Commons, we expect previous policies on tax to continue for the moment. However, key votes are likely to require support of members of other parties, so there may be some moderation in stances taken. Brexit will also have a significant impact on tax. While a hung Parliament will lead to interesting issues, it does perhaps offer the opportunity to reconsider the hard vs soft direction, with a potential to stay within the single market.”
In summary so far; A bad night for May’s Conservatives, having lost their majority. Corbyn out performs all expectations for Labour, silencing critics. SNP also see loses as Davidson’s Scottish Conservatives do well. Lib Dem’s loose former Deputy PM but Farron holds onto seat and Cable returns. PM has returned to Downing St to consider her options amid calls to resign. Foreign Secretary Johnson said “it’s early days” when asked about May’s future.
Labour take Southampton, confirming there is a definitely a hung parliament. It is now mathematically impossible for Conservatives to win a majority.
Speaking to the BBC, Conservative MP Stephen Crabb said Theresa May can continue as PM and form a new government
Labour MP Yvette Cooper has called for the prime minister to resign, whilst not ruling out working with Jeremy Corbyn.
Hung parliament looking inevitable. Results so far: CON 299, LAB 255, SNP 34, LD 12, DUP 10.
ITV News reports that Theresa May is back at Conservative HQ with close advisors and is 50:50 about stepping down.
Home secretary Rudd holds onto Hastings seat.
Labour MP Chukka Umunna: “Corbyn’s solid campaign has brought about a good positive step forward for Labour party on getting back into government.
Iain Duncan Smith, the former work and pensions secretary, is speaking to BBC and is not in favour of the prime minister stepping down. Smith said: “We need stability.”
Conservative MP Anna Soubry holds onto her seat with a slim majority but said Conservatives ran a “dreadful campaign”.
Former SNP Leader Alex Salmond looses seat to Conservatives.
The two main parties neck and neck in declared seats. Here’s where we are so far: LAB 220, CON 220, SNP 31, LD 10, DUP 10. Source: BBC News.
SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon, whilst accepting disappointing losses, stated in an interview with the BBC that: “We’ve won the election in Scotland.” Sturgeon also commented that the SNP would try to pursue a progressive alliance, depending on how the numbers add up.
Theresa May, speaking at the Maidenhead count, said: “The country needs a period of stability.”
PM Theresa May re-elected in Maidendhead.
Corbyn: “Highest turnout of electorate in the borough since 1951, people have had enough of austerity politics.” The Labour party leader said the prime minister had lost mandate and called for her resignation. He continued: “Thank you to all of those in this country who have worked so hard for this day.”
Jeremy Corbyn holds Islington North seat with 40,086 votes, elected for the ninth time.
Vince Cable, the Liberal Democrat and former business secretary, has won back Twickenham.
Conceding defeat, Clegg said: “You live by the sword, you die by the sword.”
Former deputy prime minister Nick Clegg has lost his seat in Sheffield Hallam.
The prime minister arrives in Maidenhead for count. BBC now forecasting CON 322, LAB 261, SNP 32, LD 13.
Results so far: LAB 79, CON 63, SNP 13, DUP 4, LD 0. Source BBC News.
Nigel Farage, speaking to ITV, said this election is about personality – Corbyn came across as human, May is toast.
SNP MP Robertson looses Moray seat to Conservatives, according to ITV News.
Tom Watson, deputy leader of the Labour Party, holds West Bromwich East seat.
Alistair Campbell, former Labour director of communications, tells ITV that snap election was a catastrophic decision by prime minister.
Ed Balls, former senior Labour minister, speaking on ITV news: “Labour could do well in Scotland.”
George Osborne, speaking on ITV News, believes the Conservative manifesto was the worst to come from a sitting government in living memory.
Paddy Ashdown, the former Liberal Democrats leader, spoke to ITV News and said the country is more polarised now than united.
Ken Clarke, a veteran Conservative and father of the house, is speaking to BBC News. A hung parliament would be worst possible outcome for the country, he stated.
It’s now the next morning, and Labour MP Emily Thornberry tells the BBC Labour could form the next government.
David Blunkett, former senior Labour minister, is speaking to ITV News: “It feels like 1992.” The Conservatives will win, but only just. Jeremy Corbyn must be congratulated for mobilising younger vote, he added
The Conservatives let ITV news know it’s “early days, an exit poll, not a result”.
Nick Clegg, the former deputy prime minister, is speaking to ITV. Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn will make the current Brexit situation worse, he said, and the Lib Dems shouldn’t endorse this.
Labour take Sunderland with 24,665 votes, giving a majority of 12,341.
Newcastle: Labour win with 24,071 votes, giving a majority of 14,937.
Sunderland and Newcastle working hard to declare first. According to the BBC the first declaration could be as early as 10.45pm.
Exit poll: CON 314, LAB 266, SNP 34, LD 14, PC 3, GRN 1, UKIP 0, Other 18
John McDonnell of Labour says that if polls are right then positive politics has won.
Michael Fallon of the Conservatives says: “Exit polls are a projection.”
BBC reveals exit poll of hung parliament. Theresa May’s snap election gamble may not have paid off.
Just three minutes until the polls close and Real Business is keeping a close eye on the situation. Will the exit polls get it right?
Interesting explanation on the role those clipboard-wielding, rosette-wearing individuals you find outside of polling stations. They are called “tellers” and, as @LiberalJames explains below, are a vital part of the democratic process.
So, about those people who ask for your Polling Number outside the Polling Station tomorrow. Have a read and RT if you find it helpful >> pic.twitter.com/0ZpwoDEpvE
The Telegraph has interestingly pointed out that 2017 represents a record year for female candidates seeking a seat in the Houses of Parliament.
At 29 per cent, the figure represents a three per cent increase over 2015 and eight per cent rise since 2010.
When the Women’s Equality Party is taken out of the equation (it is fielding an entirely female line up of candidates) Labour is the best placed for diversity after that at 40 per cent. After that it’s the Green Party (35 per cent), SNP (34 per cent), Liberal Democrats (29 per cent), Conservatives (29 per cent) and UKIP (13 per cent).
There’s not much being said publicly by business ministers within the government right now. Greg Clark, looking to hold onto his seat in Tunbridge Wells, serves as secretary of state for the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy.
Being similarly quiet is Margot James, who was appointed minister for small business in July 2016.
With Twitter feeds resembling a wild west tumbleweed scene, it appears they are all focusing on winning their constituency seats rather than campaigning from a point of business.
Houghton and Sunderland South has long been the first constituency to declare its count, with the record set in 2005 at 43 minutes after polling stations closed.
This year is no different, and the regular troop of students and other volunteers will be drafted in to run ballot boxes from polling stations to the central count office as quickly as possible.
The seat, which is a Labour stronghold, was the subject of a Real Business feature back in 2015 – find out more by having a look.
Interestingly, nearly a third of SMEs want a new government that would reverse the Brexit decision, according to new research from Hitachi Capital Business Finance.
Here are the most popular responses when asked what SMEs leaders and owners want from a new government to help their businesses grow
Simplify regulation and red tape 40 per cent
Lower taxes 35 per cent
Reverse the decision on Brexit 31 per cent
Strong leadership on managing the UK’s exit from the EU 29 per cent
Keep interest rates on hold 27 per cent
Negotiate favourable trade deals beyond the EU 24 per cent
Encourage banks to lend to more small businesses 21 per cent
Abolish recent changes to business rates 20 per cent
Clamp down on cyber crime 17 per cent
More grants and investments in our sector 16 per cent
Improve access to finance 13 per cent
Greater rewards and incentives for environmentally friendly initiatives 13 per cent
Greater support with apprenticeships/ training 12 per cent
A clear and final position on Scottish independence 12 per cent
Steve Belcher, director for UK & Ireland at Ergotron, has taken a different approach with is comments for Real Business.
“Any party that could implement policy that would bring health and wellbeing at work into the very fabric of the organisation, rather than being an ‘add-on’ would be addressing a growing problem that is ultimately costing the taxpayer.
“We have a ticking time bomb of health issues being created by the way that office workers carry out their work each day and attitudes need to change. I’d like to see the next government showing leadership in facilitating this change.”
Tom Harwood, co-founder of Aeriandi, wants to focus on the data debate.
“So, another year, another election. What’s clear this time around is that data security is high on the political road map. All three of the main parties have made promises around data security and protection. What approach this will take is, as yet, unclear,” he told Real Business.
“But with the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) coming into force in less than a year, MiFID II being implemented in January 2018, and Brexit on the horizon – data protection policies must remain high on the agenda of whichever party emerges victorious.”
Meanwhile, fellow business leader Hubert da Costa, VP EMEA at Cradlepoint, commented: “Whichever party is elected, their term will coincide with a key period of development in the birth of the new 5G network – roll-out will dominate our industry over the next decade.
“If the UK is to embrace all the opportunities that 5G will offer, it will need the support of central government, as well as the drive of innovative businesses and network providers. The three main parties have all made some solid commitments on digital and IT issues, including delivery of widespread 5G signal and access to superfast broadband.”
Engaging a younger audience to vote has been hard work in recent elections. Only 42 per cent of 18-24 year olds voted in the 2015 election.
However, the 2017 election has seen social media increasingly leveraged as a way of communicating with this demographic.
Compelo’s political tracker has looked at the most influential politicians in the country online today, given that fresh research from ICM found 63 per cent of 18-24 year-olds plan to vote this time round.
The ten most influential were:
Jeremy Corbyn – Labour
Diane Abbott – Labour
Nigel Farage – UKIP
George Galloway – Independent
Chris Bryant – Labour
Nicola Sturgeon – SNP
Ed Vaizey – Conservatives
Ruth Davidson – Conservatives
John McDonnell – Labour
Wes Streeting – Labour
Compelo also spoke with Gina Miller, who famously took the British government to court over Brexit, about the social media power battle.
She said: “It all comes down to trust. That is one of the main messages I am getting from young people. I have spoken to millions of young people on social media, which is where most of them get their news and form their opinions from, and two main themes keep coming up again and again.
“One is that young people are asking ‘why vote at all because I don’t trust any of them?’ The second is ‘why vote because we are not going to make any difference?’ Labour are capturing this younger audience a lot better than the other parties, so it will be interesting to see if this swings the vote.”
For those wondering how the election will impact currency markets, Mark Thompson, head of desk (corporate division) at Global Reach Partners, has provided Real Business with some insight.
“After the volatility that followed the EU referendum, there are concerns about the potential impact on the Pound. This has been enhanced by tightening polls showing the Conservative lead being reduced to as little as one point; a cut of 11 points in over two weeks.
“Of the four possible scenarios, a Conservative majority would have the most positive impact on Sterling, at least in the short term. It would see the currency test recent highs and trade up by over three per cent. A smaller Tory majority would see a more modest rise in the value of Sterling. And should Labour defy the polls and form the government, it would have an initially adverse impact on Sterling and we would anticipate a fall of around five per cent.”
Some 56 per cent of Brits believe importance should be placed on workplace-related policies by political parties. And according to Office Genie’s survey of 1,000 workers, many believe Labour will deliver on that front (36 per cent).
Of the research, Daniel Zeichner, Labour’s parliamentary candidate for Cambridge, explained why this might be the case: “Most workers instinctively think Labour is far more likely to protect them at work, and that the Conservatives will undermine those rights. But my experience working for a national trade union is that while workers recognise this, they vote on a very wide range of issues, and are much closer in voting patterns to the wider population than is sometimes understood.”
Office Genie also claimed that if a party were to offer a four-day work week, it could sway the vote of 49 per cent of Brits.
Jerry Brand, founder of entrepreneurs charity The Brand Foundation, is the latest to voice opinion about the general election – and her concerns surround startups.
“We all know startups are the backbone of the country. But we need the elected government to consider the impact these businesses could have on our future. We need to look at the potential of seed capital and a UK government support programme to find those ‘diamonds in the rough’ which will support the startups once election fever dies down.
“An entrepreneur might have creativity, ideas and motivation to push forward with a new business but with a lack of experience and cash flow, are they setting up to fall at the first hurdle? Probably, and that is why greater recognition and support is needed for entrepreneurs in this country. I would like to see a firm indication that the elected government thus intends to create better support.”
When it comes to the digital performance race, the Green Party is winning, with the Liberal Democrats trailing behind. The finding comes from Dynatrace, which analysed the performance of the main political parties’ websites, looking at user experience, response time and access speed.
“Digital technology is playing an increasingly important role and exerting more influence on the electorate’s decisions today,” said Michael Allen, VP EMEA of Dynatrace. “The web is often the first place we look for the information we need to make the biggest decisions in life; from buying a car to choosing a leader for our country. Parties vying for Number 10 should remember the old adage that first impressions really do count – it could lead to a lost opportunity to convert visitors to voters.”
James Sinclair, owner of Partyman and founder of the Entrepreneurs Network, has been buoyed by how Labour and Jeremy Corbyn have got on.
He said: “One thing that has been a real game changer in this election campaign is seeing Labour finally take up the reins and become a credible opposition party. UK businesses need a strong opposition to keep the government of the day in check and I hope that whoever wins will have now be held to account for their decisions by a strong opposition party.
“What I want to see from any future government is proper support for small and growing businesses. Don’t tax companies while still growing by clobbering each with ‘turnover’ tax – namely business rates, national insurance and VAT. A business takes at least ten years it get’s to a point where it is in a really strong position and during that time the company needs to be supported by government and not punished.”
The Institute of Directors (IoD) has weighed in with what it thinks are the eight top issues that matter to business this election. They are:
Ensuring we’ve got the right skills for an evolving economy
Upgrading Britain’s infrastructure
Keeping the lights on – addressing future energy needs
Delivering an entrepreneurial tax code
Turning startups into scale-ups
Driving regional growth
Expanding our global horizons
Getting early progress on a positive Brexit deal
Do you agree with what the IoD has to say?
Alister Esam, CEO of eShare, told us about his thoughts on the impact (or lack thereof) this general election will have on tech and business.
“I don’t want to downplay the importance of any general election – the implications for education, the health service, Brexit and much more are obviously huge. But I honestly can’t see the impact on UK technology and business being that significant.
“Very little politicians do seems to influence business in a major way. Everyone gets excited and makes a lot of noise, but really it makes little difference. My business grew through one of the worst recessions in history, and I don’t think a large Conservative majority or a shock Labour win can be worse for business than a banking crisis, for example.
“Additionally, I don’t feel many of the parties have offered up much in the way of concrete policy on business so it is hard to say with much certainty what will happen. Much of the discussion has been on other areas, which tends to be the case in most elections.”
As people arrive at work and the great general election debate begins in earnest around the country, Peakon has analysed how comfortable 4,000 UK employees are with discussing politics in the workplace.
The findings concluded, despite perceptions suggesting there is a British taboo mourned discussing politics or religion with colleagues, that 72 pre cent now feel comfortable talking about politics in the workplace.
Conservative supporters are the most comfortable talking politics in the workplace (78 per cent). Green party voters are the least comfortable (62 per cent). Some 71 per cent of Labour voters feel comfortable discussing the subject.
Comfort discussing politics at work increases with age: only 65 per cent of 18-24 year-olds feel comfortable talking politics at work, compared to 79 per cent of 45-54 year-olds.
Emily Mackay, CEO of Cambridge-based data intelligence firm Crowdsurfer, had this to say to Real Business.
“The most important thing for business is to improve access to finance. Many businesses are already struggling to attract investment from traditional sources, so in the light of EU funding schemes worth £3.6bn stopping in 2020, British businesses could be facing a massive shortfall.
“The new government also needs to back up its rhetoric on supporting entrepreneurs. Although one hasn’t heard too much on specific business policy in this campaign from any party, I do hear a lot about the importance of entrepreneurs and I would love to see that manifested in actual policy to support us.
“Entrepreneurs are providing employment and helping support local and national economies, so it is vital that we receive tangible help. Tax breaks, free pre-school care and free or subsidised office space are all policies that would make a huge difference to the UK’s entrepreneurs.”
The first of our business leader comments comes from Nick Miller, head of FMCG at Crimson & Co.
He said: “We need a government, which will ensure that UK businesses and supply chains are well considered within Brexit negotiations. Whoever the next prime minister is, it is vital for the business world that they clarify what Brexit will mean in real terms and what the process towards it looks like.
“The uncertainty around Brexit has been the key destabilising factor for business, disrupting plans for the future and making it hard to know what’s on the horizon. This uncertainty has also affected the pound – more certainty over the outcome and the process of leaving the EU would enable the pound to stabilise more and allow businesses to continue making solid plans for the future.
“We need to counter the Brexit slump by focusing more attention on these issues and growing UK supply chains to ensure we are not left out in the dark when in comes to the EU.”
The final poll to be conducted before today’s vote gave Theresa May a 12-point lead of 46 cent to Labour’s 34 per cent. This is up from David Cameron’s seven-point victory just two years ago and represents a swing to the Conservatives of 2.5 we cent.
However, if there is one thing we can take from politics in the last year it’s that polls can only really be taken at face value.
Whether or not Theresa May and her team can bring that lead to life remains to be seen.
Businessman and TV personality Alan Sugar, or Lord Sugar to even those closest we found out, used the day before the election to further distance himself from Labour – the party he used to support.
After calling for people to not vote Labour, and then being faced with accusations of avoiding more tax, Sugar posted a picture of his latest cheque to HMRC.
However, he quickly had to take the post down after some people used photo manipulation software to uncover his account details. Read the full story here.
Theresa May has made her first tweet of the day, calling for the backing of the British public.
If you believe in Britain and that our best days lie ahead, give me your backing to lead Britain: https://t.co/UMLhONax0d
Away from policy and research, CV-Library is having a bit of fun with the general election by doing a bit of PR stunt marketing. In 2015 Nick Clegg was on the hunt for a new job after his party performed badly, will anyone be doing the same this year….?
Whatever your political inclination, it’s important to make your vote count. Research from challenger bank Aldermore found nine in ten small and medium-sized business (SMEs) leaders planned to do just that.
Senior decision-makers at 90 per cent of SMEs plan to vote in the election, despite forecasts of a low voter turnout. Meanwhile, some 32 per cent of SMEs in the UK believe the vote will have a positive impact on their business over the coming months.
Based on 2015 results, we also have summaries for the other three popular parties.
Cut business rates by 20 per cent for 1.5m with premises rateable value of less than £50,000
Pressure local authorities into providing “at least” 30 minutes of free parking in town centres
Review of public sector procurement to open up contracts to SMEs employing less than 250
Mandate that employers must advertise jobs to British citizens before overseas ones
Introduce policy meaning “highly-skilled” workers international workers with job offer paying more than £30,000 prioritised
Phase in four-day working week and abolish zero-hours contracts
Increase minimum wage to £10 by 2020
Require that 40 per cent of public company and public sector boards are made up of women
Wealth tax on top on per cent of earners
Use RBS to create network of “local people’s banks” obliged to lend locally
Look at the Green Party manifesto in full07:42
The Liberal Democrats, now headed up by Tim Farron, suffered badly at the last general election in 2015 when its seat count dropped from 57 to eight. Here is what the party has planned on the business policy front to claw some of those back.
Expand the activities of the state-owned British Business Bank
Introduce a “startup allowance” to help owners of new businesses with living cost help in first few weeks
Reversal of Conservative policies to cut corporation tax, reduce capital gains tax and extended relief
Business rates review, making the tax “the priority” for any future business tax cuts
Require binding and public votes of board members on executive pay policies
Lower threshold for 45p rate of income tax from £150,000 to £80,000 and introduce new 50p rate on earnings over £123,000
Eradicate zero-hours contracts
Increase corporation tax to 26 per cent
Move minimum wage up to £10 mark by 2020
Create a “National Investment Bank” to provide £250bn of infrastructure-based lending
Look at the Labour manifesto in full07:31
The manifestos of the major parties are pretty long documents, despite policy teams only having a few weeks to bring them together. To help you out with your decision, Real Business boiled each of the six main party pledge documents down into five business policy bullet points each – giving you an idea of what can be expected from each. Starting with the incumbent government, the Conservatives, here is what’s on offer.
Increase personal allowance to £12,500 and higher rate of tax to £50,000 by 2020
Continue cutting corporation tax to 17 per cent by 2020
Require overseas acquirers make clear intentions from outset of M&A bid process
Legislate to make executive pay subject to “strict annual votes” by shareholders
Full review on business rate system and ensure revaluations are more frequent to avoid large changes
Look at the Conservatives manifesto in full07:24
Twitter and wider social media has been quite a battleground during this election, and it’s Jeremy Corbyn who makes the first post of the morning. Following a final rally held in his constituency of Islington North, the Labour leader said online: “This is our day. Our time. Our chance. Today, let’s come together and #VoteLabour to transform Britain #ForTheMany, not the few. #GE2017.”
Research from Sky News and the Centre for Analysis of Social Media (CASM), looking at the use of “botnets” during the general election, found very few Twitter accounts had tweeted at “super-human speeds”.
High-volume tweeters, the research also found, also tended to “espouse more left-wing messages”.
Turnout is one issue that has cropped up time and time again during recent elections. The lowest turnout in a general election was recorded in 1918 at 57.2 per cent, due to the end of the First World War. Between 1922 and 1997 turnout remained above 71 per cent. At the 2001 general election the turnout was 59.4 per cent, in 2005 61.4 per cent, in 2010 65.1 per cent and in 2015 it was 66.1 per cent.
A poll carried out by Cable.co.uk found 42 per cent of non-voters would be more likely to vote if they could do so online.
Some 24 per cent of those who do not plan to visit a polling station today said that, if they were to vote, they would vote for Labour, with 16 per cent for the Conservatives.
In the lead up to today’s vote, Labour’s Jeremy Corbyn was the most searched political leader online in the UK, accounting for 50.27 per cent of all searches in Britain. Theresa May came in second with 36.14 per cent of searches.
Research from Captify also revealed that for the month of May, Labour was the most searched for party, accounting for 54 per cent of all online searches for UK political parties, followed by the Conservatives (39 per cent) and Liberal Democrats (seven per cent).
Some 94 per cent of online searches for May in the same month were negative, versus 68.6 per cent of searches for Jeremy Corbyn being positive.
Good morning and welcome to our voting day rolling coverage. Over the next 36 hours we’ll be bringing you general election insights and comments from around the British business community as the public go to the polls and ultimately decide which party will govern the UK.
Since Theresa May announced there would be a surprise general election back 18 April, political parties have been scrambling to assemble a set of polices each believe will get the most votes.
Between now and when the polls close in 15 hours time, at 10pm, we’ll be providing you with as much information as we can to guide you through voting as a business owner or manager. Real Business will be summarising business policy, hearing from entrepreneurs around the country and posting comments from politicians searching for your vote.
If you’d like to share your own thoughts, then please get in touch with our editorial team via firstname.lastname@example.org – using the subject line “General election LIVE”.
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