The United Kingdom, and indeed the rest of the world, is facing an existential crisis due to Covid-19. The virus is potentially creating the most significant health risk and economic crises for100 years; since 1919 and 1929 respectively.

The Government is taking direct action to deal with the public health issues; the economic crisis is much more fundamental and its solution will require significant international collaboration.

The last economic crisis of 2008 was a ‘top-down’ problem; it was resolved by increasing liquidity in the financial markets. The current economic crisis is very different.

It is a fundamental ‘bottom-up’ issue whereby constraints on trade and supply of components and materials are throttling the global economy.

On December 31 the UK is scheduled to leave the EU. Whatever agreement is, or is not, made, it will have a detrimental effect on the UK economy over and above the current dilemmas.

The December 31 deadline was set purely for ideological reasons at a time before the current reality. The Government is focusing on the current issues but needs to look at the country’s forward position.

The EU-UK political declaration, agreed as part of the Brexit deal, says a summit should take place in June so Britain and the EU27 can assess the progress of the talks.

June is also the final month for Britain to request an extension of its transition period beyond 2020, something Mr Johnson has pledged not to do.

The Government should reconsider this position and extend the period to end 2021 at the earliest to give more time to deal with the current situation.

Steve Kirby,

Greengage Close,

Malton, North Yorkshire