The figures are staggering. Chancellor Rishi Sunak launched a package of measures on Tuesday 17th March to support businesses and employees costing £350 billion.

Even then we know that the economy will be smaller when we get out of lockdown so less money coming back to the chancellor in taxes.

We know that many people will have lost their jobs and therefore greater amounts will be given out to help the unemployed through universal credit.

How the government is going to fund such a large hit is not known at the moment. Some of it will be by borrowing by selling bonds and some from raised taxes.

Everyone knows that there are really difficult times ahead. We have not come out of the last recession yet. We cannot take more cuts to services. We know that our poor response to the coronavirus was because of cuts over the past 10 years in the NHS, in Local Authority services and underfunding of care homes.

Another hit will be Brexit. Cost of the divorce bill is around £39billion. Loss in revenue to losing trade with Europe will be costly. Trading links will be broken when we need every customer we can find to buy British goods and trade with us.

Why are we then rushing to end the transition on the 31st December? We are in a totally different situation than even three months ago.

Let us delay our departure from the EU giving us time to get a settlement that is the best for the UK.

Let civil servants get on with getting us out of this pandemic. Clearly this government is struggling to get this under control.

A decision on extending the transition has to be made by the end of June. Write to your MP to support an extension and sign the petition on the European Movement website.

Richard Newcombe

Chair, Waltham Forest European Movement