Chancellor Rishi Sunak will increase the Treasury’s business support package again if pubs, bars and restaurants are ordered to close, The Times reports.

Government sources told the newspaper officials were working on a range of options, including the potential reintroduction of the furlough scheme, though it was too early to say whether such measures might be necessary.

A Treasury source said: “If we do get to a position where we are telling businesses that they have to shut their doors then it is not unreasonable for them to expect additional government support. That could mean a return to the furlough scheme but depending on what, if any, further restrictions are necessary there might be other ways of providing that support.”

The source said this did not mean that further restrictions were now more likely, but simply that the impact of Omicron was not yet known.

The Treasury says there are a range of measures still available to support firms, including business rates relief for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses in England until March next year. Hospitality and tourism businesses will also benefit from a VAT reduction, paying only 12.5 per cent until March.

A Treasury spokesman said: “Our £400 billion Covid support package will continue to help businesses into spring next year.”