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Petition against welfare reform bill

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Oh my! :lol: peat and I surely have our disagreements, but when I read this post on the DailyPaul (think Daily Mail, only slightly more Right Wing, with a "hyuck! hyuck! Y'all!" accent) and it began with "I got this from Facebook. I doubt its real but its a great lesson on Free Markets vs. Socialism..." well, that REALLY creased me up!! But then I stopped to think about it. Gordon Bennett! Are these descendants and inheritors of the Bund for real? Sadly, the answer is, "yes, they are, God help us!" But then, as far as THEY are concerned, they're on God's good side and all those (normal rational) folk who disagree are hellbound! Book me a ticket on the down elevator then. Obama is hamstrung by these Sons of the South. What a great shame. He's certainly no saint, but I believe his reforms are well-intentioned and might just help the vast Rich/Poor divide in the U.S. Very very sad. And the anecdote is as genuine as Teresa May's feline ramblings.


I also believe that THIS reform is patently flawed and ill-advised, to say the least (yaaaay, peat! We AGREE on something!!:D ). We need rid of it. All those who agree, tell your MP, don't just tut about it, please?

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I may be wrong but my understanding of the aim of the Welfare Reform Act 2012 is


to streamline the system making it less complex and making work a more realistic option for many.


tighten things up to prevent fraud and people taking the system for a ride.


and a fairer system for those receiving various kinds of benefits.


Frankly, I cannot see this as being a bad thing, they system is a catastrophe and the workshy and the fraudsters have been milking it for far too long. Those who have wanted to work have been put off by the scant reward they would have received by taking work.


Before I start knocking the welfare reforms I will wait and see what effect it has :D

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I'm pretty sure the Poll Tax had some "aims" as well, other than to persecute those who could least afford it, and provoke rioting, almost taking down a government... and all in the name of "reform" and "fairness".


"Aims" are all very well. All very... noble, I'm sure. :roll:


Sadly, in schemes such as this one, administered by the often incompetent, utterly heartless and money-grubbing leeches ("Sorry, the computer says no!" :roll:) that the last government introduced into the equation, there will be casualties. And we will shake our heads, over our bowls of cereal, as we read of those unfortunates who will suffer, as a result, but it will carry on, nonetheless, no doubt providing the Millipede with soundbites and the opportunity to toss allegedly "humorous" jibes at his slightly more successful counterpart, for the benefit of his ego and the media, but to no other effect.


(Cynical? :shock: Moi? :wink: )

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I may be wrong but my understanding of the aim of the Welfare Reform Act 2012 is


to streamline the system making it less complex and making work a more realistic option for many.


tighten things up to prevent fraud and people taking the system for a ride.


and a fairer system for those receiving various kinds of benefits.


Frankly, I cannot see this as being a bad thing, they system is a catastrophe and the workshy and the fraudsters have been milking it for far too long. Those who have wanted to work have been put off by the scant reward they would have received by taking work.


Before I start knocking the welfare reforms I will wait and see what effect it has :D


I think it needs to be seen in context.


Philip Green (of TopShop) dodged £200,000,000 of tax a couple of years ago by putting his income into a "foundation" in his wifes name. This was more than the total amount estimated to have paid out in all fraudulent benefit claims for that year, and that's just one billionaire.


It shows where the governments priorities lie. Attack the poor in the hope of catching a few petty scroungers, and leave the rich robber barons alone.


It stinks, but then so do the tory's.

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Maybe folk would not try to avoid tax if it was not so steep. And while the tale of the economics class is probably made up the 5 sentences at the end are valid. But I doubt you are ever going o agree. I know plenty of folk that have upped sticks because of the tax system in the UK and now they pay no UK tax at all and all their money is now spent outside the UK, so the policy of hammering the wealthy actually gathers less tax than a fair system that allows folk to keep the majority of what they earn. The tax system under gordon brown became so complecated that the folks employed to run it don't have a clue about how the rules should be applied. A straight forward 20% tax rate for all with no loopholes would gather more tax from the wealthy than a 50% rate that encourages the wwalthy to move both themselves and their wealth out the country. But for you AT it seems to be more about punishing the wealthy or having the audacity to suceed in life where you and your like have failed. So maybe you or peat might like to explain why those 5 statements in my previous post are wrong, I could do with a laugh.

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Now welfare reform I can understand why you are so opposed AT and its not some altruistic tendancy, but if it gets rid of scroungers who are not deserving of benefits why is it a bad thing, that would be the brucks of £200 million that could be better spent on folks that are in need.

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The trouble with attempting to catch the "scroungers", you are forcing many to jump through the hoops and go through the evaluation again. Now, imagine you had Crohn's disease, you have already had much of your insides removed, under constant medication, in and out of hospital not knowing if it will be your last stay. Then to have a computer generated assessment to tell you because you can do certain activities, you should be looking for a job, taken off disability, then put on the dole, only to find no one wants to employ you because of the 20 or so trips to the hospital, the additional costs to the employer, the lost time. Then forced to work for little money.


I would assume that would be the problem, not only does it remove folk from disability who should get it, it removes the carer status for friends and partners and forces them to give up caring and find a job.


I would think that would be the problem.

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This is a cut and paste from http://www.andyworthington.co.uk/


Today the Tories Took £100 A Week from Some of the UK’s Most Disabled People: How Can This Be Right?



Today, largely unnoticed by British citizens fortunate enough to not suffer from any sort of disability, the vile Tory-led government hacked away much of the financial support for disabled people. As austerity cuts go, the cutting of Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) for disabled people is particularly harsh on some of society’s most vulnerable people, to an extent that makes me feel queasy, and will severely diminish the lives of tens of thousands of disabled people and their partners, reducing them to a level of poverty that ought to be unacceptable in a civilised society.


As Claudia Wood, head of public services and welfare at Demos explained for the Public Finance blog yesterday:


Today marks a watershed in the history of the welfare state. It is the last day that the contributory principle — the concept of social insurance that underpinned [William] Beveridge’s vision [for a welfare state] — remains intact.


This is because tomorrow 70,000 ill and disabled people will lose their Contributory Employment and Support Allowance — a benefit that provides financial support for those who become unemployed due to illness or disability, in return for the national insurance contributions they made during their working life.


160,000 people will eventually lose ESA this year. But they won’t lose this benefit because the amount they contributed in national insurance is inadequate. Oh no. They will lose their ESA because the government has decided that those claiming C-ESA should only be able to claim it for one year — regardless of how much they have contributed.


As part of its savage assault on anyone it can find who is weak and in need of care, the government’s decision to cut the £99 a week paid in ESA after a year, regardless of how much people have contributed before they became ill, strikes me as a type of theft that should be illegal, and that is certainly immoral and unethical.


However, when it comes to looking after disabled people, I also believe that, unless we are genuinely bankrupt as a country (both financially and morally), one of the key measures of our humanity — and, for many of those in power, their religious values — is how we treat those less fortunate than ourselves. And this, of course, means not just those who have made financial contributions before becoming ill, but anyone with a long-term illness that, for example, may have prevented them from working, or those who have never been able to secure a job because of their disabilities despite trying, in a world that, let’s face it, doesn’t involve employers queuing up to give jobs to disabled people if anyone else is in the line.


The government, however, doesn’t agree, and while I’d relish it if people would ask Iain Duncan Smith and Chris Grayling which form of Christianity they believe in (evidently not the form I was brought up with, which obliged providing help to those less fortunate than ourselves), I must also point out that the single fact that makes these changes almost unspeakably cruel is that those who lose their ESA will not get any benefit at all from the government if they have a partner who earns over £7,500 a year, despite the obvious additional costs in looking after a disabled person, all of which is now supposed to be achieved, for some people, on £150 a week gross for two people.


If that doesn’t make you feel a bit sick, then please never cross my path, and, instead, cosy up with your Tory chums and hope you never get ill or poor or disabled, while the rest of us try to work out the extent to which their cruelty is an end in itself or if it is, perhaps, also tempered by the most colossal arrogance and stupidity that ought to preclude them from ever holding political office again.


To explain more, Randeep Ramesh, the Guardian‘s Social affairs editor, wrote an article for the Observer yesterday, in which he profiled Malcolm Parker, who “has not worked since his spine collapsed three years ago.†As Ramesh also explained, “Having worked for 44 years in the construction trade and diligently paid his national insurance, he had expected to be protected should the worst happen,†but last week an official from the Department of Work and Pensions rang, and, after finding out that is wife worked more than 24 hours a week, sent him a letter telling him that his ESA “would disappear on Monday†(today).


His wife Ruth was “at first perplexed and then increasingly angry.†She explained that, “Although her husband can visit the toilet by himself, with some difficulty, she comes home every lunchtime to feed and check on him,†as Ramesh described it. “Malcolm is in a wheelchair,†she said. “He’s 62. He can’t drive. He can’t concentrate and gets horrendous headaches because of the medication he’s on. He really cannot have a long conversation. To be honest he spends a lot of time on the sofa. I can’t see how he could work.â€


Ruth Parker called the £99 a week her husband received from the state a “lifeline,†adding, “It’s not right that Malcolm paid into the system and now he needs help it is not going to pay out.†As noted above, however, Malcolm Parker is just one of “about 70,000 seriously ill, disabled people†who “will lose some or all of their £99-a-week allowance, in perhaps the most swingeing welfare cut proposed by ministers.â€


As Ramesh proceeded to explain, “In the past the public were told that by paying into national insurance, they would be guaranteed benefits should they find themselves unable to work due to sickness or disability.†Now, however, receipt of the contributory allowance is limited to a year, marking, as Claudia Wood noted, “the end of a welfare state that rested on William Beveridge’s central idea that social security was ‘first and foremost a plan of insurance — of giving in return for contributions benefits up to subsistence levels’†— what Ed Miliband calls “the ‘something for something’ welfare state.â€


In scrapping the ESA, the government has stated that it “aims to test claimants’ ability to work ‘some time in the future’ using the controversial work capability assessments (WCA),†whereby, “If a disabled person is judged to be able to do some ‘work-related activity,’ then the household is means-tested for contributory benefits.†Malcolm Parker has been put into this category, and his wife’s full-time work, as an accounts manager in a solicitors’ firm on a salary of £33,000 a year, means that he will no longer receive benefits.


£33,000 is, of course, a far cry from the £7,500 a year that some couples are now supposed to live on, and the government argues that the savings are necessary, and, by 2015, will mean that “almost 300,000 people will lose out — saving the public purse almost £2bn a year.†However, suddenly hacking £5,000 from people is very harsh and sudden, particularly for those couples whose combined income was previously £12,500 a year, but also for an unknown number of other couples who may have relied on it, and perhaps lack the means to adapt to its loss. Citizens Advice chief executive Gillian Guy called this a “betrayal,†and explained:


About 300,000 people will be losing almost £100 a week even when they continue to be assessed as being too ill too work. Citizens Advice bureaux are already seeing clients worried about being able to pay their mortgage or meet basic living costs. Many of those affected have paid national insurance all their lives — sometimes over three or four decades — believing that this will protect them if they become too ill to work. They are feeling very betrayed and frightened by what seems a very unfair change.


As Randeep Ramesh also noted, “in an age of austerity, stress and anxiety spreads through the population. For those who are depressed, the danger is that cutting benefits can jeopardise recovery and risks pushing people away from work.†Paul Farmer, the chief executive of the mental health charity Mind — who recently quit the government advisory panel responsible for monitoring the WCA –- warned, “Most people with mental health problems need longer than 12 months of support before they are ready to seek employment. It is very alarming therefore that thousands of people are going to have this support cut off, putting a huge financial strain on them as well as on their families.â€


Ramesh also noted that many experts are questioning the limit of a year on the benefit, which, as they point out, “does not recognise how difficult it is for disabled people to find a job, especially in a recession,†but the government is unmoved by the complaints.


Campaigners also point out, as Ramesh put it rather politely, that “many claimants are often assessed incorrectly†— underplaying the widespread criticism of the testing system administered by ATOS, which is designed to find people “fit for work,†and which is groaning under the huge cost of the appeals that are being lost by the government in significant numbers. Campaigners, he noted, also point out that “the government should accept that many sick and disabled people have such severe health problems that there is no current prospect of their being able to undertake work or work-related activities,†and added:


Such was the outcry when it emerged that seriously ill cancer patients will be forced to take medical tests and face “back to work†interviews, despite assurances from ministers that they would not make it harder for the sick to get welfare support, that in the face of strong opposition in the House of Lords the government accepted that some conditions would need “monitoring.â€


Neil Coyle, the director of policy at Disability Rights UK, told the Observer that “unfairness will undo the policy.†Explaining how the Tories cannot do their sums, he said that “under the new rules even average earners will pay in more in taxes annually (£5,800) than they will be able to take out in ESA (£5,200) in the event of being disabled,†and added, “When the public see who is affected, then the government will lose support for this policy. Is it fair to give you back less in support than what you paid in a year?â€


My answer to that would be that, in a sane, rational world in which empathy still existed, the answer would be a resounding “no,†but I’m not sure that we still live in such a world, sadly.


Further explanation of how the new system will work — or won’t work — was helpfully provided in the comments section by a reader identified as “outinthecold,†which I’m also cross-posting below, as it clearly explains the different categories of the government’s disabled victims, and, to conclude this round-up, I’m also cross-posting an article from yesterday’s Observer by Mark Sparrow, who has been a journalist and photographer for almost 30 years., but suffers from a rare bone disease.


Additional commentary by “outinthecoldâ€


The WCA [Work Capability Assessment] places sick and disabled people into three groups. The politicians and descriptions in the media would like Joe Public to believe that those found “fit for work†actually are fit for work. That is myth one.


The truth is that these people have some degree of functionality that excludes them from getting the benefit. The functionality consists of being able to press a button, being able to make a mark on a piece of paper with a pen, being able to use a standard or non-standard mouse, not losing control of your bowels more than once a week, etc.


Those sort of criteria mean that many people are found “fit for work†despite being not very well or not very functional. This group moves onto JSA [Job Seeker's Allowance], or off benefits altogether. That means they have no money of their own and are entirely dependant on the income of another person. That income is £7500. That’s £7500 to keep two adults, one who has a health issue or disability.


The “Work related Activity Group†is the next group. To satisfy the criteria for this group you have to have significant illness or impairment. For example, you do have to be incontinent more than once a week, you also have to be so impaired that even holding a pen is impossible.


And yet this group is subject to sanctions, unlimited work programs, and is time limited to one year, unless of course your partner is working more than 24 hours and yet still earning less than £7500, in which case the ESA paid will take you to this level. As a note, £7500 for 24 hours work [a week] takes people to below the minimum wage.


So not only are you dependant on another person, but to maintain your NI contributions, and to maintain your “recognition†as sick and disabled, you still have to keep being assessed, an assessment that is exhausting and distressing.


However with the assessment and underlying entitlement to the benefit (except for the ‘vast’ £7500 of earnings) there is the obligation to be examined on a whim, and to be placed on a work program of up to 30 hours a week for as long as the work program provider sees fit (and they get paid a lot of money to see that this happens, even if those 30 hours are spent cleaning the work program providers toilets — see [the] A4e [scandal]).


Myth number two is: People in the work related activity group are alleged to be “moving towards work†according to the Government, and yet this group contains those with progressive debilitating conditions, genetic conditions, incurable conditions and uncontrollable conditions — conditions that get worse over time not better. In fact these conditions don’t get better, ever. (Though we have our fingers crossed that science and technology will eventually find a cure).


There is no group for, and little acceptance of, the significant number of people who are every day moving further away from functionality and further from the world of work due entirely to their bodies failing them in a degenerative way. And yet these people have a year to get better. Or be plunged further into poverty and dependance on a single individual.


The third group is the support group. MP’s would have you believe that the support group consists of the most sick and disabled who will get continual financial support. That is Myth three.


This is untrue — this group is also continually assessed, the maximum award for this group is three years, but any award of more than two years is unlikely, as this involves additional recommendations from additional assessors.


To access the support group you would have to have a terminal illness where death is expected within 6 months, or to be grossly impaired with a level of functioning that most people would consider so negligible as to be non-existent.


An alternative criteria, that is not included in the standard criteria, is that working would endanger your life or the lives of others, but this criteria is usually only invoked at a tribunal, of which the waiting times are currently around a year. That’s the same year that you are expected to get better in.


At present a very sick or disabled person can access ESA and DLA [Disability Living Allowance]. Many are denied ESA, or will be denied it after a year. (Around 35% are denied it, and another 35% will lose it after a year.) DLA (an in work or out of work benefit) is being substantially changed to a Personal Independence Payment, and one quarter of working age people will lose this benefit under the changes, again due to the new criteria.


This means that a considerable number of people will lose every penny that they are currently entitled to, money that they are given to pay for the additional costs of being disabled, such as care costs, additional travel costs, heating costs, equipment costs, and they will also lose the money they are given as recognition that they have worked and paid National Insurance contributions and that they are too sick to work.


Chris Grayling, you’ve made me financially as well as physically disabled

By Mark Sparrow, The Observer, April 29, 2012


Tomorrow marks the end of an era for the disability benefits paid to people like me. From tomorrow payments of contributory employment support allowance (ESA) will be limited to just one year — regardless of whether a claimant is well enough to return to work.


Despite the fact that I’ve endured 14 operations, suffered life-threatening bone infections and am coping with the loss of four centimetres from my left leg, thanks to a rare bacterial infection three years ago that resulted in septicaemia, Chris Grayling, the employment minister, is withdrawing my ESA with immediate effect. Although I suffer extreme pain and my mobility is severely compromised, my benefit will stop. And because my wife earns more than £7,500 a year I will no longer be entitled to a penny.


Grayling’s reforms to ESA will mean that I will be totally dependent on the loved ones who have already given up so much to nurse me through this debilitating illness. Not only has my wife had to help me with things like washing, dressing, administering drugs and physiotherapy, she’s also had to assume much of the financial burden of running the home. Where there were once two salaries, there is now one. What was once a relatively comfortable living has been hacked back to subsistence level.


Throughout my working life as a journalist I had been fortunate in never having to claim a penny in state benefits. But the £90 that I received each week since being unable to work has made an enormous difference towards paying essential bills like heating costs and council tax. Now this must fall entirely on my wife’s shoulders. From now on I will no longer be able to contribute to the household budget and that makes me feel even more of a burden. It’s bad enough that I can’t do my proper share of the housework but the thought that I can no longer contribute financially has hit me hard.


To most people, the sum of money involved may not sound like a great deal but it offers me a shred of dignity and the feeling that society still values me. It offers me hope that I can hold things together until I’m strong enough to return to work. The benefit also helps me afford essential items like toiletries or the specially adapted shoes I need. Perhaps more importantly, ESA helps me put petrol in my 12-year old car so I can make regular trips to see my orthopaedic surgeon in Oxford.


From tomorrow I’ll lose the little bit of independence that I have at the moment. From tomorrow I’ll have to ask my wife for some pocket money to pay for even my most basic needs such as a birthday present for a loved one or something as small as a cup of coffee. It’s hard to describe how utterly impotent and dependent that makes me feel. From tomorrow I will be financially as well as physically disabled.


According to Grayling and his boss, Iain Duncan Smith, the main reason for reforming disability benefits like ESA was to stop disabled people being forgotten, isolated and unable to work. Grayling promised that those judged able to return to work one day would be given every assistance to get back into employment.


Unfortunately I’m no longer sure if Grayling’s promise to help sick and disabled people get back into work is worth anything. Once I’m no longer a financial drain on his budget, I’m concerned I’ll be forgotten and cast adrift without any further support. If that does turn out to be the case, then it will nail the lie that the reforms were all about helping disabled people return to work. It will be incontrovertible evidence that time-limiting contributory ESA was only ever about saving the Treasury money.


When I wake up tomorrow morning I shall still be unwell, I shall still be unemployed, and I shall still be struggling with the myriad problems that chronic ill health brings.


Tomorrow I will simply become a small piece of collateral damage in the government’s drive to reform welfare spending.




Tomorrow, there will be May Day protests in London, with supporters of the Occupy movement and others awake enough to challenge this vilest of governments calling for an end to the kind of unforgivable policies outlined above. I’ll be there, and I hope you will be too. If not, I hope you write to your MP, or write a letter to a newspaper, or complain about this barbaric government to anyone who thinks that what they’re doing is justifiable. As I said earlier on in this piece I don’t recognise the necessity for the disabled to be treated in this manner in the UK, which is not, after all, a failed state with no resources, and I cannot for the life of me accept how people who claim to be Christians — as, I’m sure, most Tory MPs do — can so callously disregard the lessons taught by Jesus Christ, who would not have sanctioned any policy that involved deliberately inflicting misery on the most vulnerable members of society.

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  • 2 months later...

Did anyone see Panorama and Dispatches last night? (links for them below)






Exactly the point i was trying to make at the beginning of this topic on how badly treated the genuinely sick and disabled people are being dealt with by this Government, and i have a link for a HM Government e petition which i would be grateful if you would take the time to sign so as we can try and get a review on the atrocious treatment being suffered by the most vulnerable and least able people in our society.



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Tory minister who grabbed £100,000 expenses now attacks ‘scroungers’


Chris Grayling, the Tory work and pensions minister, launched fresh attacks on benefit claimants this week, despite his smear that they are fakers being proved wrong.


Grayling says the Tories’ Work Programme has failed to force enough people with long term health problems into work­—because they are “sicker than expectedâ€. This gives the lie to the Tories’ claim that people are feigning illness to avoid work.


But now Grayling, an MP who grabbed thousands in expenses, plans to change the rules. He wants to redesign the scheme so people originally deemed too ill to join it would be forced to do so.


This would hit tens of thousands of disability benefit claimants. Grayling is also set to force unemployed people to work for free for six months—or risk losing their benefits.


He claims this will “help†them. In reality it will help bosses by giving them free labour—and it will particularly help those bosses who happen to be Tory party donors.


John Nash, Ryan Robson and three others set up Sovereign Capital in 2001. It owns the Employment and Skills Group (ESG), which has grabbed £73 million worth of government employment contracts. Nash and his wife Caroline have donated £182,500 to the Tories since 2006. Robson has given them £267,866 since 2003.


Grayling’s attack is based on the idea that people on benefits are lying “scroungersâ€. But he’s the real scrounger. Grayling claimed over £100,000 in expenses to renovate a plush Pimlico flat. He says he needed the flat close to parliament to carry out his work—yet he hardly ever uses it.


Grayling’s neighbours certainly don’t seem to see much of him. One said, “There is a light on occasionally, but he is not here very often.†After seeing a picture of the Tory, another said “I have no idea who this man is.â€


He’s never there because he has three other flats within the M25. He spread his expense claims over two years to avoid going over the maximum limit. And he used the money to completely refurbish his flat—pushing its value up.


Grayling’s real aim is to throw people off benefits regardless of their circumstances. More evidence of this emerged just last week. The Tories employ private firm Atos to test people with disabilities and get them off benefits.


An investigation revealed that the government have dictated no more than 12 percent should be declared unfit to work.


The Tories want to force people onto lower rates of benefit, or none at all and enrich their mates in the process. They are the real lying scroungers—not people on benefits.

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“It is absolutely shocking that in 2012 almost half of disabled people feel attitudes have got worse and many have experienced aggression, hostility or name calling from other peopleâ€.


Richard Hawkes, chief executive of Scope


This happens every time there is a "purge" on benefit fraud, it was single mothers one time, now disabled. When you see just how small the number of fraudulent claims are it makes you think that current policies are about alienating folk that need help to score with the Daily Fail readers and those who read The Stun.



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  • 1 month later...

Unbelievable in this day and age but it is happening to many more who do not have the ability to speak up for themselves.




Again i would ask if you have not already signed the Government petition above please do so as it needs a 100,000 signatures or it will not get considered :(

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