"The Chancellor's coronavirus response is excellent but he can't support people forever"

12 May 2020, 10:45 | Updated: 12 May 2020, 10:53

By Fiona Jones

Former Shadow Chancellor Ed Balls reviews Chancellor Rishi Sunak's "excellent" response to the pandemic and outlines how "messy" it will be for the economy moving forward.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak is expected later today to announce a further extension of the furlough scheme to subsidise the wages of workers temporarily laid off during the outbreak.

Ed Balls said the Treasury's economic response has been "excellent" in the last few weeks.

"The messaging from the Prime Minister in the last few days has been a bit all over the place, but on the economy they've been very very effective," Mr Balls said.

He countered that the government must also be cautious so will likely "extend today" because to withdraw economic measures too quickly and have people return to work would cause a second pandemic.

He continued that the "easy thing to do" was to spend billions and billions of pounds to support everybody: "There's a really difficult balance judgement to make about how long they can carry on spending tens of billions of pounds supporting a quarter of the workforce and state payroll."

The longterm economic damage of keeping people furloughed is "huge", Mr Balls said, "and it's damage that will particularly hit people who will then find it hard to go back in to work...it tends to be the poorest which are hit hardest.

"You can't support everybody forever...it's going to get messy, it's going to get complicated, but I think so far what they've done has been excellent."

More Nick Ferrari

See more More Nick Ferrari

Ian Maxwell was speaking to LBC's Nick Ferrari

Watch in full: Nick Ferrari speaks to Ghislaine Maxwell's brother ahead of trial

The sex trafficking trial of Ghislaine Maxwell is set to begin in New York today

Ghislaine Maxwell’s brother says Prince Andrew was 'cancelled' on 'dubious grounds'

The UK wants to step up cooperation with France, a minister has said.

'Not just a British problem': UK ready to send ground support to France, minister says

Dominic Raab has dismissed claims Boris Johnson has been the subject of a number of no confidence letters

Raab dismisses PM no confidence letters as 'tittle tattle' as party rating plummets

Dominic Raab defended Harper's Law

Raab: Harper’s Law isn’t blurring lines between murder and manslaughter

The uncle of Dawn Ashworth says Pitchfork should have been handed a whole life sentence

Uncle of Pitchfork victim says Parole Board put kids 'at risk' by releasing killer

The Education Secretary refused to be drawn on the subject of Priti Patel

Education Secretary refuses to grade Priti Patel's performance over migrants

Nadhim Zahawi told LBC the new law was the forward in dealing with the migrant crisis.

Migrant crisis: New law must 'close the loophole, break the business model', Zahawi says

The Education Secretary was speaking on LBC's Call the Cabinet

Nadhim Zahawi: Anti-vax protesters should be 'nowhere near' schools

Nadhim Zahawi spoke to Nick Ferrari on LBC this morning

Zahawi hails UK jab rollout, saying Covid pandemic can shrink

Call The Cabinet | Watch live on Monday from 9am

Call The Cabinet with Nadhim Zahawi | Watch Again

Lord Andrew Lloyd Webber's Cinderella will raise money for women all over the world.

Lloyd Webber's Cinderella gala to raise money to empower female refugees around the world

Caller with home on proposed HS2 route 'absolutely delighted' it's axed

Caller with home on proposed HS2 route 'absolutely delighted' it's axed

PC John Murray spoke to Nick Ferrari

'I will get them': Former cop vows to find out who fired gun that killed WPC Yvonne Fletcher

Lord Andrew Lloyd Webber joins Nick Ferrari

Andrew Lloyd Webber joins Nick Ferrari | Watch again

Nick Ferrari interviews Azeem Rafiq

Watch in full: Nick Ferrari interviews Azeem Rafiq