Labour leader hopeful Lisa Nandy has said that Boris Johnson’s Government should extend the Brexit transition period because of the coronavirus.
The MP for Wigan wrote in The Guardian that the coronavirus is a threat to the global economy and that the UK should “agree” with the EU and extend the Brexit transition period Ms Nandy is currently in the Labour leadership race along with Sir Keir Starmer and Rebecca Long-Bailey.
She said that the Government must take a “long-term approach” to the coronavirus crisis and think about the future.
The Labour leader underdog said that in this case “uncertainty must be minimised”, citing the financial crisis of 2008 as a vital lesson we must learn from.
She said: “So first, we must agree with the EU to extend the Brexit transition period.
“Our businesses and our communities cannot cope with more uncertainty during this outbreak.
”British companies who trade with the EU do not know what terms they’ll be trading on in 10 months’ time.
“Add to this the falling demand and disruption created by coronavirus and it is reasonable to expect many businesses will not survive.
“The government has boxed itself into a corner by legislating to end the transition period in December come what may.
“It now faces a direct choice between narrow partisan ideology and the interests of the nation.”
Ms Nandy’s main arguments for the delay include aiding British citizens who live abroad by allowing them free health care access for at least another year, and safeguarding the economy.
She continued: “The Bank of England could reduce interest rates to lower the costs of lending to business but, given interest rates are already low, this is not enough.
“We should introduce a Government-backed guarantee to ensure loans are provided to companies that fall into trouble.”
Establishing an emergency economic council who have experience in dealing with the 2008 financial crisis is one of her solutions to the looming economic downfall.
Reducing VAT rates and allowing for payment holidays could help keep firms afloat and help people who could potentially lose their homes.
The Labour MP’s third reason for extending the Brexit transition period is employees who do not qualify for sick pay.
She added: “That is why, thirdly, we need to think beyond the impact on employers and extend statutory sick pay to the self-employed and to the 2 million people who do not qualify from day one; otherwise many people will simply not be able to afford to self-isolate.
“This is a public health disaster waiting to happen. We must establish a Covid-19 workers’ taskforce with powers to protect people in insecure employment.
“This means being able to ensure workers are not under pressure to turn up to work when sick, do not lose their jobs if they self-isolate, and receive the sick pay they are entitled to.
”It will be agency workers in areas such as social care and gig workers who are most at risk of being forced to turn up to work.”
Ms Nandy also sites over-65s, who are most at risk from coronavirus, as a demographic that need protection.
She said that the elderly are at risk of being more lonely because of the pandemic which has seen the country forced into self-isolation.
The Labour leader hopeful challenged the Government saying that is has “no excuse” not use next week’s budget meeting to direct emergency funding to social care.
On Monday, the FTSE 100 saw its biggest fall since the 2008 financial crash which saw the UK plunged into financial crisis.