Leon CEO John Vincent has warned that a longer lockdown “will cost lives” as he reveals that his food to go brand is losing £200,000 a week.

Vincent said that businesses on the brink of collapse because of the pandemic need a lifeline - as they are at the “heart of society.”

Speaking on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, he said it was “quite possible” that Leon could fold “if weeks and months drag on.”

He said: “What concerns me is the voices I’ve heard in the past few weeks, which is ‘what does it matter if lockdowns go on a few months or few weeks longer than necessary?’

“I tell you, it matters hugely. I tell you therefore, how can we be making this decision about the impact on the young, today and on their futures?

“How can we be making these decisions about the future economic destruction which is costing lives?

“When we lose our economy we lose lives.”

He estimated that his firm is losing an extra £800,000 a week with £200,000 of cash “going out the bank.”

Vincent added: “So that’s money that isn’t going into the economy, it’s not going into the wallets of people that work at Leon, and it’s not going to pay the taxes that we need to pay.

“About 235 businesses a week are going under. It’s not being reported, it’s not being understood.

“We served 1million meals as leading feed NHS, a million meals to frontline ITU teams.

“If we don’t exist, which is quite plausible if the weeks and months drag on, we can’t even do the basics of what we did to feed a million meals to frontline teams.

“Businesses are at the heart of a functioning, healthy society.”