Treasury suggests 1p and 2p coins could be scrapped

Treasury documents published alongside the Chancellor's Spring Statement raise questions about the future of the small change, pointing out they are increasingly 'falling out of circulation'.

Large numbers of pennies and 2ps are being used just once before being thrown away, according to the assessment.

At the other end of the scale, £50 notes are 'rarely used for routine purchases' and can be implicated in money laundering and tax evasion.

However, Tory MP Ian Liddell-Grainger said the penny was a part of history and branded the idea of getting rid of small units 'lazy'. 

Large numbers of pennies and 2ps are being used just once before being thrown away, according to the assessment

At the other end of the scale, £50 notes are 'rarely used for routine purchases' and can be implicated in money laundering and tax evasion

The Treasury consultation stops short of proposing the currency be abandoned altogether, but makes clear the government's initial views on the issue.

'From an economic perspective, having large numbers of denominations that are not in demand, saved by the public, or in long term storage at cash processors rather than used in circulation does not contribute to an efficient or cost effective cash cycle,' the document says.

The paper says six in 10 1p and 2p coins are only used once before 'leaving the cash cycle'. 

'In the normal course of the cash cycle, many denominations fall out of circulation, for example, by being placed into savings jars,' the consultation says. 

'Surveys suggest that six in ten 1p and 2p coins are used in a transaction once before they leave the cash cycle. They are either saved, or in 8 per cent of cases are thrown away..

'To meet demand created by such losses from circulation, in previous years the government and the Royal Mint have needed to produce and issue over 500 million 1p and 2p coins each year to replace those falling out of circulation.'

The decreasing use of cash for small-value transactions, together with the public returning stores of small change to banks, meant the issues were becoming more pronounced. 

The document adds: 'The cost of industry processing and distributing low denomination coins is the same as for high denomination coins, making the cost high relative to face value and utility.' 

Treasury documents published alongside the Chancellor's Spring Statement raise questions about the future of the small change

At the same time the £50 note is 'believed to be rarely used for routine purchases and is instead held as a store of value'. 

'There is a significant overseas demand for £50 notes, with the notes used for some transactions, but mainly held as a store of value alongside other currencies such as the dollar and euro,' the document says. 

'There is also a perception among some that £50 notes are used for money laundering, hidden economy activity, and tax evasion.'

But Mr Liddell-Grainger told MailOnline: 'A lot of charities live for those pennies.

'This is a level of laziness from the Treasury. They just want to stop something, even though people still use it. 

He added: 'I think the government has got this wrong. They need to have a long think about this. It is a bad mistake.'

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March 13, 2018

Sources: Daily Mail

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	U-turn! Eddie Stobart's ousted boss's bold plans to re-merge the firm and create a £1.6bn giant

    U-turn! Eddie Stobart's ousted boss's bold plans to re-merge the firm and create a £1.6bn giant

    Stobart’s empire just four years after they split</p><p>An extraordinary plan to reunite the two parts of the Eddie Stobart empire has been hatched by an ousted boss, The Mail on Sunday has learned.</p><p>The business, famed for its familiar lorries on the motorways of Britain, was divided into two separate companies only four years ago: Stobart Group, which runs Southend Airport along with some biomass plants, and Eddie Stobart Logistics, the trucks side.</p><p>Former Stobart Group boss Andrew Tinkler was ejected from the board this month. But as we reveal today, he has secretly drawn up a blueprint which raises the prospect of putting the two firms back together again.</p><p>Tinkler still has an 8 per cent stake in Stobart Group but is being sued by the company, whose lawyers have accused him in a letter seen by the MoS of breaching his fiduciary duties as a director by disrupting the board and of trying to extract £40 million for himself.</p><p>The letter also alleges that billionaire Philip Day, who Tinkler wants installed as chairman, is an associate of Tinkler so would not be independent and expresses fears Tinkler may insert himself as chief executive.</p><p>Day is trying to kick out chairman Iain Ferguson and replace him with retail tycoon Day, owner of the Jaeger and Peacocks brands. The showdown will come to a head at the annual meeting on July 6.</p><p>Documents seen by the MoS reveal Tinkler’s bold secret plans to re-merge Stobart Group with Eddie Stobart Logistics.</p><p>Dubbed ‘Project Park’, the dossier says a combined company would be worth more than £1.6 billion now and could be valued at £3.2 billion by 2023. But even Tinkler is forced to admit his scheme is likely to be greeted with doubt in the City.</p><p>‘It is likely that some in the market will look at this plan with scepticism as the two businesses were only separated 4 years ago,’ the documents say.</p><p>Eddie Stobart, famed for its familiar lorries on the motorways of Britain, was divided into two separate companies only four years ago: Stobart Group, which runs Southend Airport along with some biomass plants, and Eddie Stobart Logistics, the trucks side</p><p>The dispute has even dragged in star fund manager Neil Woodford, who has large stakes in both groups, though this weekend he tried to distance himself from the imbroglio.</p><p>Emails seen by the MoS show Tinkler sent his plans to Philip Day on May 15. Day replied: ‘Just read Project Park and it looks very interesting, can see why you would want to combine! Win\Win.’</p><p>Tinkler responded: ‘Agree stronger together and everybody wins just need to get timing right.’</p><p>After stepping down as chief executive of Stobart Group last year, Tinkler was put in charge of a new investment arm called Stobart Capital. His spokesman said it was in this capacity that he drew up the plans.</p><p>‘Andrew generated numerous ideas at Stobart Capital to enhance shareholder value for the group. That was his job,’ the spokesman said. He added: ‘Philip Day is a businessman Andrew respects and they have discussed business ideas together, including those generated by Stobart Capital.’</p><p>Tinkler and Day, who own mansions on nearby estates in Cumbria, deny they are close friends but admit they are business contacts. Stobart and Eddie Stobart declined to comment.</p><p>A spokesman for Philip Day said: ‘Mr Day is a businessman and he often meets with third parties to provide informal advice on business ideas as an outsider. Mr Tinkler requested a meeting with Mr Day to discuss the idea of a merger between Stobart Group and Eddie Stobart logistics. Mr Day simply provided his opinion on how the markets might react, and did not retain any documentation from this meeting. This was one of the few times that Mr Day has met with Mr Tinkler, and this discussion lasted no more than 30 minutes.’ </p><p>Do you want to automatically post your MailOnline comments to your Facebook Timeline?</p><p>Your comment will be posted to MailOnline as usual.</p><p>Do you want to automatically post your MailOnline comments to your Facebook Timeline?</p><p> We will automatically post your comment and a link to the news story to your Facebook timeline at the same time it is posted on MailOnline. To do this we will link your MailOnline account with your Facebook account. We’ll ask you to confirm this for your first post to Facebook.</p><p>Part of the Daily Mail, The Mail on Sunday &amp; Metro Media Group</p>

    1 June 23, 2018
  • 
	JEFF PRESTRIDGE: Do not sit on your hands, vote against this culture of excessive pay

    JEFF PRESTRIDGE: Do not sit on your hands, vote against this culture of excessive pay

    ces, it is not a given. </p><p>Member-owned businesses are not guaranteed to succeed, nor provide customers with the products and quality of service they deserve. Far from it.</p><p>No organisation has besmirched the mutual badge more than Equitable Life which was run into the ground in the late 1990s as a result of mismanagement – and insipid regulation. Customers saw their investments savaged in order to keep the business afloat.</p><p>Nationwide Building Society’s stance on directors’ remuneration sticks in the craw of some customers, sayd Jeff Prestridge</p><p>In recent years the punctured Equitable dinghy has been successfully reflated, a result of shrewd stewardship under the watchful eye of chief executive Chris Wiscarson. He has cut costs to the bone and sold off what he could. It has been a successful strategy, culminating in Equitable’s proposed sale to insurer Reliance Life. </p><p>For some 263,000 policyholders – those holding so called with-profits plans – there will be icing on the cake with the prospect of a 60 to 70 per cent uplift in the value of their plans once the takeover is finalised. This is likely to be towards the end of next year.</p><p>While such a financially happy outcome is great news for policyholders, it will do nothing for those who have jumped off the Equitable boat – and, of course, those who died along the way.</p><p>Compared to Equitable, Nationwide Building Society’s history as a mutual has been far smoother. It has had its horrible moments, most notably in 1994 when it embarrassingly sold its loss-making estate agency arm for £1. But it has since cemented its position as the most customer-friendly brand in UK banking.</p><p>Yet, as we report this week, the society’s stance on directors’ remuneration sticks in the craw of some customers. They believe that the rewards given to the society’s executive directors are excessive and are unbecoming of an organisation owned by its members.</p><p>Nationwide’s members now have the opportunity to vote again on directors’ remuneration ahead of next month’s annual general meeting</p><p>Last year, some 40,000 members – out of an eligible total of eight million – voted against the directors’ remuneration report at the society’s annual general meeting. </p><p>Some would say this was a subdued protest vote, representing just under 7 per cent of votes cast, although I am sure many who voted in support of the report did so only because they opted for the ‘quick vote’ – surrendering their votes to the society’s chairman who naturally cast them in favour.</p><p>Nationwide’s members now have the opportunity to vote again on directors’ remuneration ahead of next month’s annual general meeting. The society claims its four executives are worthy of the £6.6 million of spoils that they received in the year to April 5. Others such as Alan Debenham, secretary of the Building Societies Members Association and long-time Nationwide customer, disagree.</p><p>If you are a member, I implore you not to waste this year’s vote. So, if you are content with the way the keeper of your savings or mortgage is being run, and believe its executives are worth every dime they receive, vote quick. But if you think the executives are overpaid at a time of austerity and uncertainty, opt for the standard vote and vote against resolution two. Do not sit on your hands.</p><p>With mutuality very much in mind, an all-party parliamentary group has just been formed to look into the lack of diversity in the financial services industry.</p><p>The Group for Challenger Banks and Building Societies, chaired by Conservative MP Kemi Badenoch, believes that regulation of the City is too centred on the long-established banks. As a result it does not satisfactorily take into account alternative models such as building societies or accommodate new start-up banks.</p><p>The result, says Badenoch, is a perpetuation of the status quo, inhibiting building societies from flourishing while making it difficult for new challenger banks to get off the ground.</p><p>It means that compared to the US and elsewhere in Europe, the UK’s financial services industry lacks institutional diversity and sufficient consumer choice. The group’s first task is to launch an inquiry to see whether financial regulations can be adapted to encourage, not discourage, competition.</p><p>Although the group is fledgling, it will shine the spotlight on important issues. For that, we – as consumers – should be grateful. The vibrancy of the financial sector depends upon choice, not continued dominance by a few banks which have done little to convince us that they put customers first.  </p><p>Do you want to automatically post your MailOnline comments to your Facebook Timeline?</p><p>Your comment will be posted to MailOnline as usual.</p><p>Do you want to automatically post your MailOnline comments to your Facebook Timeline?</p><p> We will automatically post your comment and a link to the news story to your Facebook timeline at the same time it is posted on MailOnline. To do this we will link your MailOnline account with your Facebook account. We’ll ask you to confirm this for your first post to Facebook.</p><p>Part of the Daily Mail, The Mail on Sunday &amp; Metro Media Group</p>

    1 June 23, 2018
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	How to keep your pet premiums on a tight leash

    How to keep your pet premiums on a tight leash

    ce for their dogs and cats because of rocketing premiums. </p><p>Around 12 million households have a pet but as many as eight million are uninsured, leaving them at risk of hefty bills should they have to visit a vet.</p><p>Here we look at the options available, how to keep costs down and the key facts pet owners need to know about their insurance cover.</p><p>Protected: Eunice Salmon has lifetime cover for her dogs</p><p>Animal owners who want some financial protection from unexpected bills have choices which need not break the bank. Accident-only policies exclude claims for all pet illnesses but cover potentially big costs after a mishap.</p><p>Annual cover starts from about £35, available from The Insurance Emporium and based on a four-year-old cross-breed dog. This policy would pay up to £2,500 per injury or accident with a £75 excess – the first part of an insurance claim which the policyholder must pay.</p><p>There are then ‘per condition’ or ‘time limited’ insurance policies. These plans offer some level of cover, but with limits and restrictions. There is either a cap on the payout per condition which when exceeded results in the condition being excluded from cover. </p><p>Or there is a time limit on a claim – after which there will be no further payouts. Younger dogs and cats and cross-breeds are cheaper to insure than their older, pure-breed counterparts which tend to be more susceptible to illnesses.</p><p>This type of insurance can prove invaluable should you have to make a claim – with payouts exceeding the premiums paid. The average claim across all pets is about £600. But with such low cost cover, pet owners run the risk of being unable to insure their dog or cat in future if it is diagnosed with an ongoing condition.</p><p>Hannah Maundrell is editor of comparison website money.co.uk. She says low cost pet insurance can provide a financial backstop and some reassurance. But she warns consumers to check all the exclusions and conditions before committing to a specific policy.</p><p>Tempting: Gwen Weston is saving to meet future vet bills for her two collies</p><p>She says: ‘Read the small print and understand your cover. This will avoid any nasty surprises in the future when you come to make a claim.’</p><p>More pet owners are now ditching costly cover and relying on self-funding – through savings and income – to meet any future vet bills.</p><p>On the plus side, if you do not have to use the funds during your pet’s lifetime you will still have the cash. The downside is that you run the risk of being unable to meet any large vet bill. This could lead to difficult decisions being made about what to do with your pet, particularly older ones, or you might be forced to fund treatment by credit card borrowing or taking out a personal loan.</p><p>Gwen Weston, from Birmingham, has been putting aside £10 to £20 each month just in case her border collies Briar and Rowan need expensive treatment. This is after her pet insurance with Sainsbury’s Bank became unaffordable. Gwen, a 64-year-old care worker, says: ‘I could no longer afford the premiums for both dogs. The last renewal notice I received 18 months ago quoted an annual premium of around £1,500. I could not afford it.</p><p>‘I think the cost increased due to their age as they had just hit 10. But it seemed harsh. I had only previously made two small claims for less than £200. Historically I had been paying between £300 and £400 a year for both dogs. Of course I worry about potentially big bills in the future but I had no choice – I had to cancel the cover.’</p><p>Some owners who cannot meet vet bills and who do not have insurance may be eligible for free or low cost treatment through animal charities such as the People’s Dispensary for Sick Animals (PDSA) and the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA).</p><p>Play cute: Cheaper cover is available for younger pets</p><p>With this type of insurance your pet is covered for the cost of treatment for a particular illness or condition up to a maximum payout limit. Once you reach it, you can continue with the insurance but you can no longer claim against the medical condition you have received the maximum payout on. Usually there is no time limit on each claim.</p><p>When David Lofting’s beloved labrador retriever Toby was diagnosed with a liver problem in July 2016, followed by neurological issues months later, David was relieved he had pet insurance as treatment was expensive. His ‘advanced cover’ plan, through Direct Line, offered a maximum benefit of £8,000 per condition – with no time limit.</p><p>David, 61, a retired police officer, who lives with wife Ros in Cambridgeshire, says: ‘Our vet – Hampton Vets in Peterborough – was amazing and gave Toby excellent care, but his serious conditions meant he needed a number of medications. The drugs from the vet cost £250 a month.’ David paid a £95 excess on the two claims – for each condition – and Direct Line picked up the bill for the remaining drugs. As a way of stretching the time he had to claim up to the £8,000 limit David started to buy Toby’s medication from accredited retailer Pet Drugs Online, which worked out cheaper at £90 a month.</p><p>Toby died in May last year at the age of 13. David says: ‘Having the insurance cover in place gave me peace of mind that I could get all the drugs Toby needed – including pain relief – without spending any time worrying about the cost.’</p><p>Many pet owners opt for the security of comprehensive insurance – known as lifetime cover – despite the eye-watering premiums. The advantage of this type of policy is that it should continue to pay out for ongoing illnesses and conditions year after year – albeit with annual limits. Among the insurers offering this cover are Animal Friends, Petplan, Pet Protect, More Than, Marks and Spencer, The Insurance Emporium and Post Office.</p><p>Lifetime cover for a two-year-old labrador retriever starts from about £150 a year. This is with Animal Friends and would offer up to £1,000 a year per condition towards vet bills with a £99 excess to pay on any claim. This limit renews each year as long as the policyholder continues to pay the premiums.</p><p>It is not just cats and dogs that need insurance. The Pet Population Report shows there are more than two million exotic animals kept as pets. These include iguanas, parrots, tortoises and snakes, plus there are around 20 million fish in indoor tanks</p><p>For more generous annual cover limits and for different dog breeds, premiums will be higher. Other ‘lifetime’ policies restrict total vet bill claims to a set amount each year. The limit is reinstated annually, including for ongoing conditions. This can be invaluable for owners where pets are suffering from chronic conditions.</p><p>For local authority worker Eunice Salmon, lifetime cover for her two rescue dogs Ben and Billy has been a prudent choice. Eunice, who is married to Robert and lives in Swindon, Wiltshire started insuring Ben when she first got him as an abandoned puppy at three months old.</p><p>Ben, a jack russell and staffordshire bull terrier cross-breed, was soon diagnosed with a skin condition caused by allergies and has required treatment for the past eight years. Eunice, 58, relies heavily on her £45 a month insurance with Petplan to cover the cost of the monthly immunotherapy injections and other medication Ben needs, which run into hundreds of pounds each month.</p><p>Ben will need this treatment for the rest of his life. Eunice must pay an excess on the claim for Ben’s condition – £140 each year – but the policy covers the rest and the £7,000 limit on cover for each condition renews each year. Eunice says: ‘It has provided huge peace of mind to know the cost of Ben’s treatment is covered for his life. Without the medication Ben’s condition causes him irritation and upset.</p><p>‘You always take a gamble with insurance – it looks expensive if you never make a claim. But in my case it has been a big benefit.’</p><p>As The Mail on Sunday highlighted recently, the downside of ‘lifetime’ cover is that customers often find that premiums rise sharply – particularly for older pets. This has not been the case so far for Eunice. It is also impossible for owners whose pets have ongoing conditions, such as Ben’s, to switch to another insurer and get cover for that condition. It means many owners find themselves trapped, paying expensive premiums. </p><p>It is not just cats and dogs that need insurance. The Pet Population Report shows there are more than two million exotic animals kept as pets. These include iguanas, parrots, tortoises and snakes, plus there are around 20 million fish in indoor tanks. A trip to the vet with an unusual animal can result in a large bill and standard pet insurance policies are not suitable. Specialist exotic animal insurance covers unusual pets. The policy should cover vets’ bills, the death of your pet through illness or accidental injury and even its theft.</p><p>If you have a lot of expensive equipment for your pet you can often get cover for this – in the event of damage caused by fire, a storm or lightning. Make sure you keep your pet in a proper enclosure with suitable ventilation and heating – or a claim could end up being rejected if the animal becomes ill. For advice about exotic pets and guidelines on welfare visit the British Veterinary Association website at bva.co.uk. </p><p>Research by consumer group Which? shows that dog owners can pay as much as £2,000 a year for cover while cat owners could pay £1,500. But the earlier you buy a policy the cheaper it should be.</p><p>Harry Rose, money editor at Which? says: ‘Many pet owners are struggling to keep a lid on insurance costs, particularly after they have made a claim. For new pet owners the earlier you get cover the better. Not only will premiums be cheaper but a younger animal will have few pre-existing conditions, making for fewer exclusions and greater choice of policy.’</p><p>A ‘lifetime’ pet insurance policy for a six-month-old male cocker spaniel costs about £130 a year according to comparison website comparethemarket. This cover is from The Insurance Emporium and provides £2,000 of medical cover per condition per year during the policy’s term. There is a claim excess of £85.</p><p>This cover then renews for each condition each year – including ongoing conditions. In contrast, trying to get the same level of cover for an eight-year-old male dog of the same breed would cost around £310 per year.</p><p>This is with Animal Friends and there is a £99 excess to pay on each claim plus 20 per cent of any vet bill. There is £2,000 of annual cover per condition during the policy’s term and this renews each year. Once a cat or dog reaches age eight, insurers lift premiums significantly. Alternatively, they ask you to co-insure – so you contribute more towards each medical claim.</p><p>Pre-existing conditions pose similar problems. A majority of insurers will not cover them – others require your pet to have finished any treatment and be symptom-free for around two years before they will offer insurance. That is why it is sensible to start insuring cats and dogs when they are young.</p><p>Do you want to automatically post your MailOnline comments to your Facebook Timeline?</p><p>Your comment will be posted to MailOnline as usual.</p><p>Do you want to automatically post your MailOnline comments to your Facebook Timeline?</p><p> We will automatically post your comment and a link to the news story to your Facebook timeline at the same time it is posted on MailOnline. To do this we will link your MailOnline account with your Facebook account. We’ll ask you to confirm this for your first post to Facebook.</p><p>Part of the Daily Mail, The Mail on Sunday &amp; Metro Media Group</p>

    1 June 23, 2018
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	BRUNNER INVESTMENT TRUST: 'We may look like two cautious females but we are very active'

    BRUNNER INVESTMENT TRUST: 'We may look like two cautious females but we are very active'

    holdings</p><p>Women now account for more than one in five investment trust directorships. Yet it is rare for the two most powerful positions on a trust’s board – chairperson and investment manager – to be held by females.</p><p>For the past two years, this is exactly how things have been at Brunner, a global investment trust with a history going back more than 90 years. Chairing the fund is Carolan Dobson, a former investment manager herself, while in the investment hot seat is Lucy Macdonald, chief investment officer of global equities at asset manager Allianz Global Investors.</p><p>It is a relationship which seems to be working in the best interests of shareholders, judging by the overhaul that Brunner has undergone – an exercise which is still a work in progress. </p><p>Quarterly dividend payments have been introduced to make the trust more investor appealing – an idea of Dobson’s when she first joined the board in late 2013. Furthermore, there is a strong commitment to grow the overall annual dividend by more than inflation.</p><p>Earlier this month, Dobson announced a first quarter dividend of 4.05p per share – with shares trading at 802p – and a determination to deliver an overall dividend for the year of 18.15p, a 10 per cent increase on the year before. </p><p>Irrespective of whether the 10 per cent increase is achieved, Brunner is firmly on course to recording its 47th consecutive year of annual dividend growth – a record bettered by only half a dozen other investment trusts.</p><p>Dobson is also overseeing the paying off of expensive borrowings which have proved a drag on the trust’s overall investment performance. Later this week, debt of £15 million and £13 million – with interest rates of 9.3 per cent and 6 per cent respectively – will be repaid at a cost of £39 million. </p><p>Role: Chairing the fund is Carolan Dobson, a former investment manager herself</p><p>New borrowings of £25 million will be put in place at an interest rate of 2.84 per cent. Although there will be a small hit on the trust’s assets, it will ensure that in the future less of the trust’s reserves – capital and income – are used to meet debt interest repayments, leaving shareholders potentially with a greater slice of the pie.</p><p>On the investment management side, Macdonald is also making changes, slowly but surely reducing the trust’s holdings down to a preferred number of 60 – it currently stands at 70. She is doing this because she thinks a more concentrated portfolio will deliver better investment results.</p><p>The trust’s holdings have a strong international flavour, drawing on ideas generated by Allianz’s 80 analysts across the globe – based in Frankfurt, Hong Kong, London, San Francisco and Tokyo. The UK element – key for income generation – is overseen by Macdonald’s colleague Matthew Tillett.</p><p>Macdonald says: ‘Despite the fact that from the outside the trust looks as if it is being overseen by two cautious females, we have been extremely active in making it fit for purpose.’</p><p>The next issue on Dobson and Macdonald’s agenda is major shareholder Aviva. </p><p>The insurance giant has made no secret of wishing to offload its 18 per cent stake. </p><p>Macdonald is adamant that its withdrawal from Brunner can be handled without too much disruption. </p><p>She says: ‘Aviva does not want to be there long term as a shareholder and we understand its position. What we are striving for as a trust is a broader spread of investor, keen to participate in our commitment to growth in both income and capital.’ </p><p>Do you want to automatically post your MailOnline comments to your Facebook Timeline?</p><p>Your comment will be posted to MailOnline as usual.</p><p>Do you want to automatically post your MailOnline comments to your Facebook Timeline?</p><p> We will automatically post your comment and a link to the news story to your Facebook timeline at the same time it is posted on MailOnline. To do this we will link your MailOnline account with your Facebook account. We’ll ask you to confirm this for your first post to Facebook.</p><p>Find out how much a regular monthly savings scheme could make me.</p><p>Calculate how much a lump sum investment could be worth.</p><p>Part of the Daily Mail, The Mail on Sunday &amp; Metro Media Group</p>

    1 June 23, 2018

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