LISA NANDY - Cross-party structure is needed

Every day since the coronavirus hit Britain it feels like the world is turning on its head.
Lisa Nandy MPLisa Nandy MP
Lisa Nandy MP

The Chancellor’s announcements that the Government will support workers and the self-employed was a sign of how dramatically times have changed.

It was also a sign that the government is starting to get this right at last. It is time for all of us to throw out party politics and work through this together.

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But the situation is still very dire. The NHS is fighting for time before the crisis escalates.

Wards are being built as fast as possible and it is hoped that the army will be drafted in to help.

Every critical-care bed or ventilator that is sourced now will reduce the eventual death toll. Hospitals are trying to free up beds.

Charities that are badly needed to feed children who cannot go to school are facing funding cuts and potential closure, and urgently need help now.

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Millions of self-employed people have had a massive drop in income, with homes potentially at risk unless something happens fast. Every day counts.

That’s why we need a cross-party National Cobra – a formal structure that would ensure the government, opposition, trade unions and business leaders work alongside devolved governments, charities and community leaders to build a common national action plan and stand behind it.

This would give us the ability to plan fast, with the input of those who best understand the challenges we face – not rely on plans drawn up by one party that are then revised and amended over days and weeks as the shortfalls begin to become clear. These are days and weeks we do not have.

Now is the moment to broaden the pool of decision makers, chuck out the old rules and get our country through.

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This government has done a lot of harm to our community. But these are not ordinary times and we will rise to this challenge and defeat this crisis the only way we have ever done it in history – together.