PM vows not to extend Brexit transition due to Coronavirus

Wed 18 Mar 2020
Posted by: William Barns-Graham
Trade News

westminster evening

The Prime Minister has said he has “no intention” of changing legislation to extend the Brexit transition period due to the Covid-19 outbreak.

Boris Johnson’s pledge came at the government’s now-daily press briefing on Wednesday (18th March) and was despite speculation that the UK will seek to elongate the transition period beyond its December 2020 deadline.

The next round of Brexit negotiations has been cancelled, but Johnson said the subject of extension was not currently being discussed in Downing Street.

‘Good companies’

When asked about further financial support for industries affected by Coronavirus, he said the government would continue to look at “steps to support good companies who are now facing difficulties through no fault of their own'”.

No specific additional support for businesses was announced, though questions continue to be asked by a wide range of sectors. They include road haulage, which the IOE&IT’s Director General, Marco Forgione, described today as “the engine” of supply lines during the crisis.

Closing schools

Today’s major announcement was about the closing of schools, universities, colleges and nurseries from Friday afternoon.

Only children of key workers including NHS staff, police and delivery drivers, and the most vulnerable children will be allowed to continue going to school.

Tests that could determine whether someone has ever had the virus are also progressing.

The Prime Minister claimed that these could have a major economic impact as they would allow workers to “know their status” and have greater confidence that they can return to work as normal.