There are growing calls for the Government to extend financial support to businesses following a delay to the easing of lockdown restrictions.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced on Monday (June 14) that the planned easing of all lockdown restrictions in England would be delayed by four weeks to July 19 following an increase in cases of the Delta variant of Covid-19.

But Mayor of London Sadiq Khan has today once again warned of a “calamitous blow” for businesses that are “already on a financial knife edge” if financial support ends as planned next month.

Following a visit to businesses in central London today, the mayor pleaded with ministers that “it is not too late to think again” about extending support.

Mr Khan said: “I’m today appealing directly to ministers – it is not too late to think again. Our world-class theatres, cultural venues, bars, shops and restaurants desperately want to welcome back Londoners and tourists safely from across the UK. And we continue to showcase what all our amazing venues have to offer through our #LetsDoLondon campaign.

“But until restrictions are fully lifted, whacking our venues with a large business rates bill and other costs from next month will simply hamper the capital’s chances of recovery.

“Central London remains the engine of the UK’s economy. But there simply won’t be a national economic recovery from COVID if ministers take the survival of London’s unique eco-system of shops, hospitality and world-leading cultural venues for granted.”

From July, employers will have to contribute 10 per cent towards the cost of furlough, while a ban on commercial evictions is also set to come to an end.

Richard Burge, chief executive of the London Chamber of Business and Commerce, has said that businesses will “play their part” in protecting the health of customers and staff, but that the Government must ensure businesses are “sufficiently supported”.

Mr Burge said: “Businesses that cannot open their doors, or those in quiet city centre areas like the City of London that were banking on a return of commuters from June 21, should not have to now pay increased furlough contribution. Nor is it the right time for the business rates holiday to end. Plus, many of these directly and indirectly impacted businesses, and those who are self-employed in impacted sectors, will also require further financial support.”

UK Hospitality estimates that the four-week delay to the easing of lockdown restrictions will cost the industry around £3 billion in lost sales across the UK, putting 300,000 jobs at risk.