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Toby Perkins questioning the Prime Minister in the debate on Monday

Update on Syrian Refugee Crisis

Toby Perkins questioning the Prime Minister in the debate on Monday

Toby Perkins questioning the Prime Minister in the debate on Monday

The last few weeks of media coverage have been dominated by the devastating global crisis we have seen in recent months in regards to the situation of refugees crossing the Mediterranean to Europe. I have received a large number of emails, letters and social media messages asking me to ensure Britain plays a full part in helping people in peril.

Like everyone, I was horrified to see the picture of three-year-old Aylan Kurdi, washed up dead on a Turkish beach. And whilst that photograph became an iconic snapshot of the whole appalling tragedy, other human catastrophes occur every day, the desperation and suffering that these people have gone through is unimaginable.

Huge numbers of people are dying trying to cross the Mediterranean to Southern Europe from war-torn Libya and Syria. But millions more are stuck in refugee camps in Jordan, Libya and elsewhere. Lawlessness in these countries means that there is little authority to control the flow; some of the militias controlling the country are profiting from the perilous trade.

This is indisputably one of the worst human tragedies since the war and the desire to see Britain play its part in alleviating the suffering is widespread.

I welcome the steps the government has taken thus far in their approach, however, I strongly believe that more substantial, immediate action is needed, given the scale of the crisis we face.

My colleague Yvette Cooper secured a three-hour emergency debate yesterday, to analyse in detail what the government has proposed and to discuss what further humanitarian role Britain can make. I spoke in the debate and made clear to the Home Secretary that Chesterfield is fully pledged to supporting those who are seeking refuge.

Below is a link to the question I asked David Cameron on Monday about how the government can do more to harness the huge desire amongst British people to play our part to alleviate suffering of desperate Syrian refugees, as well as the speech I made yesterday:

Monday’s Question:

Yesterday’s Speech:

Speech 8/09/15 – Check on delivery:

I commend my right hon. Friend the Member for Normanton, Pontefract and Castleford (Yvette Cooper), the shadow Home Secretary, for securing the debate, and for the tremendous way in which she has led the fight. Labour Members are of the view that the Government’s response is inadequate, but the Government have responded more generously than they did a few weeks ago. The shadow Home Secretary deserves great credit for getting the Government at least to take the steps they have taken.

The tragic death of Alan Kurdi is a bucket of cold water over the whole of our nation and the Government. It was the moment at which public opinion changed and when people said we must do more. We recognise that the appalling suffering of those refugees is a moment in history. History will look back on our generation, and on this Parliament and this Government, and ask what we did when we faced this appalling moment. I believe that we are failing to live up to our historical role as a place of safe haven, and to live up to the incredibly proud role that Britain has played over many years to support refugees, whether that is the 10,000 of the Kindertransport in the late 1930s, the 300,000 Poles who came here after the second world war or the 42,000 Ugandan Asians who came to Britain after the historic situation there. When history looks at our generation and our current response to this appalling situation, it will judge us badly for the failure to take more refugees.

In the Government’s response, they not only fail to appreciate the suffering that people are experiencing, but underestimate the capacity and desire, which the harrowing pictures have evoked, to help people. I said yesterday to the Prime Minister that if ever there was an opportunity for him to make the big society something that means something to people, this is it. People all over our communities are saying that they want to make a difference.

People are saying that they want to make a difference. They are saying, “Please let me know how I can help.” Councils in Derbyshire have offered to act as reception centres for refugees. The Labour council in Chesterfield has said that it stands willing to do whatever is needed to support people in that terrible situation. The Government underestimate the capacity in our country to make a stand in the once-in-a-lifetime atrocious situation that we face.

The Government should explore the far greater potential that there is among proud Britons who are standing ready and willing to help people in their hour of need. In our history, when the world has needed heroes, Britain has so often come forward and shown how truly great our nation can be.

Let us not let this generation, when the world is expecting so much of us, be the one that lets our country’s reputation down. Let us not be the ones who, when we tell our children and grandchildren about the roles we played, have to look down at our shoes and say that when this country was needed we did not do what

we could. There is more we can do. We should be taking more refugees. In all our communities, we know we can do more. Let this Parliament and this Government be the ones to say we will do more. Let us lift what we are doing right now.

Posted in Blog, Featured, Uncategorized1 Comment

Hospital picture with Toby

Update from Westminster: 19 March 2015

The Tory plan is failing working families

Less than a day after George Osborne delivered his Budget, it’s already unravelling – with the Tories’ plans for extreme cuts, and the risk they pose to the NHS, increasingly clear.

sausagesGeorge Osborne spent an hour telling people they’ve never had it so good. But after five years of the Tories working people are still an average £1,600 a year worse off. That’s why he has failed to balance the books as he promised.

Our National Health Service is in crisis. But George Osborne had nothing to say about the NHS.

The Tories started yesterday with plans for extreme spending cuts. And they ended yesterday with plans for extreme spending cuts.

As the independent Office for Budget Responsibility said, these Budget plans will mean “a sharp acceleration” in cuts to public spending – even bigger after the election than over the last five years. These are deeper cuts which go beyond simply balancing the books. They could only be delivered by raising VAT again and putting our NHS at risk.

That’s what you get from a Tory Chancellor who gives with one hand and takes much more with the other.

The Lib Dems have backed the Tories all the way 

Lib Dem attempts to differentiate themselves from the Tories aren’t worth the paper they’re written on. Even Danny Alexander admits the Tories’ record is their own.

Clegg and CameronThe Lib Dems backed the Tories all the way and working families have paid the price. Thanks to the Lib Dems, working people’s wages are down £1,600 a year since 2010 and tax and benefit changes have left families £1,127 worse off.

The Lib Dems and Nick Clegg broke their central election promises and cannot be trusted. Rather than delivering fair taxes they hiked VAT, and rather than abolishing tuition fees they trebled them. The Lib Dems have been part of a government which imposed the bedroom tax while cutting taxes for millionaires.

You can’t trust the Lib Dems. No matter what they say, they share the Tories’ record of failing working people.

So the election remains a choice between a Tory plan which is failing working families and Labour’s better plan which will put working families first and save our NHS.

Labour’s better plan

Labour’s better plan will put working families first and save our NHS:

  • Hospital picture with TobyRaising living standards by increasing the minimum wage to £8 an hour and 25 hours of free childcare for working parents of 3 and 4 year olds.
  • Saving and transforming our NHS with a £2.5 billion a year Time to Care Fund which will pay for 20,000 more nurses, 8,000 more GPs and a guarantee of cancer tests in one week.
  • Cutting business rates for 1.5 million small business properties and getting 200,000 new homes built a year.
  • Balancing the books in a fair way by reversing the Tory tax cut for millionaires.
  • A tax cut for 24 million working people through a lower 10p starting rate of tax.
  • And guaranteeing an apprenticeship for every school leaver who gets the basic grades and cutting tuition fees to £6,000.

Posted in Blog, Featured, NewsComments Off on Update from Westminster: 19 March 2015

Toby joins campaigners to hand in a petition with over 100,000 signatures against Land Registry privatisation.

Toby’s Summer Update

As we approach the summer I thought you might be interested in reading about some of my recent work in Chesterfield and Westminster.  I hope you find it of interest.

Working for safer communities

  • Probation officers do an incredibly difficult and important job to reduce reoffending rates and rehabilitate offenders.  Community safety depends on their work.  So I was shocked to meet a probation officer from Chesterfield, who despite 20 years of loyal service, was transferred to a private company after her name was plucked out of a hat!  I have raised this issue directly in Parliament with the Tory Minister responsible (read more here) and was extremely disappointed that he dismissed the story as “absolute nonsense” (read more here) despite the fact that he signed of the guidance which created the system of job transfer by lottery (read more here).  I will continue to fight for my constituent on this cause.

Labour’s Toby Perkins MP & Cllr Sharon Blank (left) with local trader Bridget Jones. The trio are fighting to rid our streets of ‘legal highs’.

  • No one should be frightened to walk to work or support their local high street stores.  But traders on Knifesmithgate have said that so called ‘legal highs’ are creating a no-go zone.  Shops such as Reefer in the town centre have been mocking the law by acquiring and distributing new chemical substances quicker than Parliament can act to ban them.  I think it is time for government to give greater powers to local authorities and local police to rid our high streets of this blight.  Just as they can deal with anti-social tenants, so they should also have the power to curb the activities of anti-social retailers. I’ll keep the fight going.  I therefore called a debate in Parliament this month to call for just this change.  You can watch the debate here, read a transcript here and read my article for Politics Home on the subject here.
  • On 7 July, in the House of Commons, I raised the issue of missing Home Office files which may provide vital evidence of child abuse, with the Home Secretary, Theresa May.  You can read the exchange here.

Fighting for public services

  • Alongside Unions, Small Business and other organisation, I have been fighting the Tory-led government’s plans to privatise the 150 year old Land Registry.  This campaign scored a great success on 14 July when Ministers announced that they would not be bringing forward privatisation plans in this Parliament.  You can read how we did it here and see more photos of the evidence session I hosted in Parliament on this issue here.
Toby joins campaigners to hand in a petition with over 100,000 signatures against Land Registry privatisation.

Toby joins campaigners to hand in a petition with over 100,000 signatures against Land Registry privatisation.

  • Under the Tory-led government the NHS is under pressure. Nowhere has this been more true than at Rectory Road Surgery in Staveley.  This is why I have organised two packed public meetings where local people were able to put their concerns directly to bosses at NHS England (read more here).  Unfortunately, plans for a new provider to take over were thwarted by new Competition regulations and the GP shortage, which blocked a new provider (read more here, my comment at the bottom).
  • This summer marks the 66th anniversary of our NHS.  The NHS is the Labour Party’s greatest achievement and the staff who work in it are its greatest resource. For 66 years the doctors, nurses, healthcare assistants, cleaners and porters have kept our hospitals running, cared for us from cradle to grave and made ours the best and most enviable healthcare system in the world.  This is why I recently met with staff to listen to concerns about their pay and working conditions (read more here).

Backing small businesses and jobs

  • To help young people become work ready and able to find jobs, and to ensure that businesses are able to recruit the skills they need, I believe it is really important that we help more people from the world of business become school governors.  This is why I recently launched a new policy on behalf of the Labour Party provide new opportunities for business people from local communities to contribute and get involved, developing stronger links between schools and local business and enterprise, as well as bringing new expertise and helping drive knowledge and understanding of enterprise within schools and foster pathways to enterprise as a career.  You can read more about these plan by clicking here and scrolling to the bottom.
  • On 10 June 2014, I gave a speech to The Entrepreneur’s Network policy think tank on the subject of “What Small Businesses Can Expect from a Labour Government”.  You can read it in full here.
  • As many of you will know from previous update I have led the campaign in Parliament for a statutory code to give local pubs the protection they need and to ensure landlords get a fair deal.  Despite voting against the proposals three times in Parliament in as many years, the government announcement in June they would finally be introducing such a code.  You can read my thoughts on this u-turn here.

Boosting local growth and housing

  • In June I revealed new figures which demonstrate how new house building in Chesterfield has fallen to just one third of the national average.  This far behind the figures needed to keep up with projected demand and marks the 5th quarter of decline in a row.  That’s why Labour has committed to getting 200,000 homes a year built by 2020 and to introduce tough new ‘use it or lose it’ powers to prevent companies sitting on land while waiting for the price to rise.  You can read the figures in detail here.
  • To grow our economy from the bottom up we need to devolve more money and responsibility to the local level.  You can read my blog on this plan here.
  • Earlier in July I asked a question in the house about boosting local growth deals for the area.  You can read more here.

Support for local families & children

  • Childcare costs in the East Midlands up 4.4% since 2010.  I recently wrote this piece about how the next Labour government could help.
  • Opening the Ashgate Croft Gym

    Opening the Ashgate Croft Gym

    Far too many young people with disabilities do not participate in enough physical exercise to stay healthy.  It is really important that provide them and their families with the facilities to stay fit.  This is why I was delighted to open a new outdoor gym at Ashgate Croft School.  The outdoor gym is for young people aged 11 – 19 all of whom have learning disabilities (Autism, Severe and Moderate Learning Difficulties) and is made up of 6 items designed to build imagination, fitness and wellbeing into play (read more here).

  • Hady Lane Primary School have faced ongoing problems with flooding on the path that leads to the school.  This is a longstanding issue that has been affecting parents and pupils for several years and they are quite rightly fed up with it, which is why I visited the site the see the problem for myself and arranged for the appropriate authorities from the Council to come along too.  The Council are obviously cash strapped in this era of central government cuts but we are working to find a feasible and affordable solution (read more here).

Toby and the SpireAside from an annual family holiday, I will be working out of my Chesterfield office over the parliamentary summer recess and will still be holding regular advice surgeries. 

Simply call 01246 386286 to book an appointment.

Posted in Blog, Featured, NewsComments Off on Toby’s Summer Update

Toby supporting local firefighters

Chesterfield MP’s Update: Toby’s December Review

Firstly Happy Christmas, can I wish you all the very best for the festive season. In between putting up the mistletoe and preparing my Christmas list, I have put together my latest email briefing highlighting some of my recent work in Chesterfield and Westminster.  I hope you find it of interest.

Standing up for local services

  • On Monday 25 November I called a debate in Parliament on cuts to our local fire services.  I think this is an extremely serious issue which jeopardises the safety of many local people and I am determined to fight these cuts.  Click here to watch a Calendar report on the issue and to watch highlights of the debate.  You can watch the full 30 minute debate here.
  • I am hugely concerned about the Post Office’s plans to relocate Chesterfield’s Crown Post Office into the Pavement’s Centre branch of WH Smith’s.  I have expressed these concerns directly to Post Office bosses at a public meeting in the Chesterfield library (read more here), have responded to 287 enquiries received from constituents opposing the plans, and voted against the government’s privatisation of the Royal Mail in Parliament (read why here).  I am urging everyone who shares my concerns to attend a public consultation tomorrow (11 December) at the Chesterfield Hotel, opposite the Railway Station, on from 4.30pm to 8.30pm. Anyone unable to attend can share their views on the move by emailing or writing to the Post Office, addressing envelopes ‘Freepost – Your Comments, Post Office Ltd’ (read more here). I won’t be at the public meeting, as I will still be in parliament, but my office Manager will be there, and I will be meeting Royal Mail bosses to discuss my concerns with them.
  • I have recently conducted a local survey to find out people’s views regarding the quality and performance of the GP practices in Staveley and the Holywell Medical Group’s surgeries in particular, following a number of complaints and a damaging CQC report.  You can learn more about my work here.
  • Last month I also spoke against the wholesale privatisation of the Probation Service in Parliament (which you can read and watch here) and sent this message of support to those striking to save the service in Chesterfield.
Toby supporting local firefighters

Toby supporting local firefighters

Backing local businesses

  • I have been a strong supporter of the first ever UK Small Business Saturday which was held on 7 December.  You can read why here.  I was delighted that a battle bus which toured the country to promote the day decided to call at Chesterfield, the smallest town on its route, as shown here, and met local business and press on the bus whilst it parked in the market square.
  • On Small Business Saturday itself I visited 25 independent retailers around our town.  You can see a picture gallery of the visits here and view all the sites I visited on this map. I would like to take this opportunity to encourage you to shop local and support our small businesses at Christmas, they are crucial to the diversity of Chesterfield and Staveley.
  • I also believe it is important to promote our town to investors across the country.  That is why on 26 November I hosted an “Invest in Chesterfield” event in Westminster to demonstrate why businesses should choose to locate in Chesterfield and bring continued jobs and economic growth in our town.  You can read more about the event here and here.
  • Another group of small business which are struggling in the current climate are pubs, and I recently wrote this article highlighting how Labour can support our pub industry.
Toby Perkins visited traders across Chesterfield on Small Business Saturday

Toby Perkins visited traders across Chesterfield on Small Business Saturday

Recent appearances in Parliament

  • On 28 November I was called to sum up a Backbench Business Committee Debate in the House of Commons on how government should support small businesses.  You can read my contribution here.
  • On 2 December I asked a question of the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change and urged him to support a petition calling for an immediate freeze in energy bills which 5,000 local people in Chesterfield have already signed.  You can add your name here and calculate how much a prize freeze would save you and your family here.
  • On 4 December I lead an Opposition Day Debate in Parliament (one of the rare opportunities when those parties not in government get to set the agenda of the House of Commons) on Business Rates.  You can watch the debate here, my opening speech starts after 1min and 42sec.
  • On 9 December I had the honour and privilege of speaking during the tributes to Nelson Mandela in the House of Commons.  You can read my short contribution here.
Toby in the House of Commons

Toby in the House of Commons

And finally …

Christmas is coming so along with many people in Chesterfield I’ve been busy finalising my Christmas card list, which includes Her Majesty the Queen Elizabeth II.  To design my card I hosted a competition for local school children and the winner whose design I will be using is Rehman Abdul from Hady Primary School.  You can see the winning design and read more about the competition here.

Best wishes,

Toby Perkins MP

Labour Member of Parliament for Chesterfield – Shadow Minister for Small Business (BIS)
Westminster Tel: 020 7219 4702 – Constituency Tel: 01246 386 286

Posted in Blog, Featured, News, View from the CommonsComments Off on Chesterfield MP’s Update: Toby’s December Review

Chesterfield Crown Post Office is earmarked for relocation

Chesterfield Crown Post Office: Update

As readers of this website will know, Toby Perkins MP has had long standing concerns about plans to move Chesterfield Crown Post Office from it’s historic home to  a location inside WH Smiths (read more here) as well as the overall privatisation of the Royal Mail (read more here).  In particular, Toby has encouraged local constituents to participate in the ongoing consultation around this move (read more here).

Last Wednesday (11 December 2013) the Post Office hosted a consultation drop-in at the Chesterfield Hotel to allow local people to voice their views.  Unfortunately Toby was unable to attend the drop-in in person as there was an important vote in Parliament that night, however his office manager did attend and raised many issues of concern.  These are briefly summarised below and this will be helpful for those who were also unable to attend.

Questions that constituents got in touch with me to ask to raise at the meeting:

Chesterfield Crown Post Office is earmarked for relocation

Chesterfield Crown Post Office is earmarked for relocation

Will local people with visual impairments be able to access the new facilities?
All the designs are DDA compliant.  Any changes will also be DDA ratified.

WH Smiths is already very busy, how will the new Post Office effect this?
The information given out on the night did not show any new layout for the WH Smith site, and there was a presumption that it would stay the same.  A new pathway would be clearly marked to create a natural flow through to the post office.  Some of the existing stands will be removed to make room for this.

What would be the new queuing system?
The current facility is designed to allow for long queues but the build up is in the wrong direction, this will be changed.  The meeting was told that all WH Smiths stores which already include a post office have a sub 4 min waiting time and this would be in place for Chesterfield to.

What about lack of seating in Smiths – how will this impact on older people?
At the meeting it was admitted that there is no room for significant seating.  Two chairs will be available but these aren’t central to the design and were probably an afterthought.  I am very concerned about this development.

Is there a legal requirement to provide a crown post office in a town as large as Chesterfield? What happens if Smiths shuts down?
There is a legal duty to provide post offices where the population reaches a certain point, so there will always have to be a post office in town.  There were assurances at the meeting if WH Smiths collapses or decides to move out of their current premises another venue must be found, and this has happened in other towns where the post office was in a shop like Smiths.

Further questions my office sought answers to:

The current site is used by a number of older people as their local POs were closed down.  Older people will find it harder to walk into a bustling store and the DDA does not recognise age as a disability.  How will the plans take account of this?
The Post Office agreed to take all points back and look again at the plan for WH Smith’s layout.  However, they would give no concession on queuing system which may be difficult for older people to navigate.

What account has been taken for the drop in service points from 12 to 6 (which conveniently fits the available space in store)?
The meeting was assured that the number was decided upon first and then the space found second and the speakers quoted research to demonstrate that waiting times no worse than now.  I will closely monitor this situation.

There appears to be no ‘back room’ space so how is the confidentially/security of post assured?
The Post Office gave assurances that this be guaranteed in the plans.

After the change, staff would be employed by WH Smith not the Post Office.  There are a number of staff related issues connected with this:

  1. Quality and understanding of staff
  2. Transfer arrangements
  3. Staff numbers

The meeting was given some assurances over staff transfer.  The new facilities will have the same management structure, and staff will be given the option of transferring to other branches if they prefer to remain a Post Office employee.  Initially all WH Smith staff working at franchised site will be Tupe’d over from the Post Office.

When staff were TUPE’d over from Royal Mail to CSC  there were considerable problems with their pension as it was viewed as a second pension.  Will this happen again?
The Post Office representatives could not answer this question on the day but have promised to come back with more information.

Posted in Featured, NewsComments Off on Chesterfield Crown Post Office: Update


The expenses claimed over the period 1st August 2012 to 31st October 2012 were as follows:

Phone Bills

I claim for only 75% of the cost of my mobile phone. These came to:

Mobile phone: £506.15 (this covers bills from previous quarters as well)

Constituency office phone: £121.26

Travel costs

Train/ underground travel from Chesterfield to London: £4286.93

Taxis: £10.20

Costs associated with London flat

Water: £48.79

TV License: £145.50


My monthly rent on the one bedroom London flat is £1490

Stationery, Toners and Ancillaries

Toners: £562.80

Toners for Westminster office: £445.20

Stationary: £65.72

Constituency Office costs:

The quarterly rent for the constituency office is £1495 per quarter.

Broadband: £104.32

Gas: £77.26

Service charge: £561.03

Computer purchase: £1007.95

Staff training: £85

Posted in Expenses, NewsComments Off on EXPENSES UPDATE AUGUST 2013 TO OCTOBER 2013.


The expenses claimed over the period 1st May 2013 to 31st July 2013 were as follows:

Phone Bills

Constituency office telephone account: £366.72

Additionally there was the cost of April’s mobile bill which was billed in May for £61.10

Travel costs

Train/ underground travel from Chesterfield to London: £1984.39

Parking:  £17.30

My mileage costs were £766.86

Taxi: £49

Congestion charge: £20

Food (Food is only claimed for evening meals in the event of parliament sitting past 8.00pm, receipts are provided for any food claimed)

June: £24.85

July: £19.90

Additionally food purchased Mar-Apr was billed in this period at £62.50

Costs associated with London flat

Gas: £77.94

Electricity: £46.85

Water: £48.26


My monthly rent on the one bedroom London flat is £1490

Stationery, Toners and Ancillaries

June: £792

May: £618.60

Toners: £291.60

Constituency Office costs:

The quarterly rent for the constituency office is £1495 per quarter.

Broadband: £57.85

Electricity: £330.91

Gas: £142.42

Computer software: £59.99

Security maintenance: £331.20

Posted in Expenses, NewsComments Off on EXPENSES UPDATE MAY– JULY 2013



The expenses claimed over the period 1st February 2013 to 30th April 2013 were as follows:

Phone Bills

I claim for only 75% of the cost of my mobile phone. These came to:

February: £73.39

March: £69.54

The Constituency office telephone bill for this period was

Travel costs

Train/ underground travel from Chesterfield to London: £1229.10


February: £6.60

My mileage costs were: £242.09

Taxis: £13

Additionally, costs for taxis used during the Dec-Jan were billed during this period at £9.80. Also billed during this period was mileage used the previous quarter billed at £191.84, and train transport billed at £244.40.

Food (Food is only claimed for evening meals in the event of parliament sitting past 8.00pm, receipts are provided for any food claimed)

February and March: £17.75

Costs associated with London flat

Gas: £87.22

Electric: £51.43


My monthly rent on the one bedroom London flat is £1490

Stationery, Toners and Ancillaries


March: £47.16

Toners: £127.20

Additionally, toners bought in January were billed during this period for £445.20

Constituency Office costs:

The quarterly rent for the constituency office is  £1500 per quarter.

Broadband line: £291.56

Electricity: £360.44

Gas: £444.28

February: £383.62

April: £444.28

The service charge for this period was: £229.04

Additional costs during this period were:

Office furniture, billed at £132 in March.

PAT Testing was billed at £52.44 in March.  

Additional expenditure

There was the additional cost of the lunch and travel expenses of an Intern working in the Westminster office during this period.


Travel: £124.07

Expenses: £286.90

Posted in ExpensesComments Off on EXPENSES UPDATE FEBRUARY 2013 – APRIL 2013


I am Toby Perkins, Labour's Member of Parliament for Chesterfield. If you would like to get in touch with me, my office is open and can be reached by phone on 01246 386 286. I also hold regular surgeries so that constituents can meet me and I can take up their concerns. If you would like to make an appointment then please do contact my office. Thank you for visiting.

Contact Toby

Tel: 01246 386286
Post: 113 Saltergate, Chesterfield, S40 1NF


I hold regular surgeries for my constituents.
Please call 01246 386286 or email to make a booking.

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