Government ministers are considering pushing back the 21 June roadmap date by up to a month in order to give businesses greater certainty and to allow more time for people to have received two vaccinations.

Discussions have been taking place to impose either a two-week or four-week delay to the lifting of all remaining lockdown restrictions later this month, following an increasing number of cases, and hospitable admissions, due to the spread of the Indian variant, The Times has reported.

The variant currently accounts for nine in ten cases, with fears that further easing of restrictions could result in a third wave of the infections.

However it is understood that ministers have voiced concerns that a two-week delay would not give businesses confidence as it may then need to be extended.

“This is about giving people certainty,” a source told the newspaper. “The worst-case scenario is that we ease restrictions and then have to implement them again. This has to be a one-way ticket.”

Labour has called for further economic support for businesses should unlocking be delayed. Supporting its calls, Kate Nicholls, chief executive, UKHospitality, said: “If government decides it has to keep some restrictions in place after this date, then it must prioritise those that do the least damage to business and commit to further supporting the sector.

“Among other measures, the Government must postpone business rates payments until at least October and extend the rent moratorium while a long-term solution is found.”