THE final step out out of lockdown, scheduled for June 21, is set to be delayed by two weeks.

According to The Times newspaper today (June 8), ministers are “pessimistic” over whether the lifting will go ahead on June 21 and are weighing up delaying it by a fortnight.

It comes just one day after Health Secretary Matt Hancock told members in the House of Commons that it was "too early" to say whether Step 4 of the lockdown would go ahead as planned, adding that the decision would be announced next Monday (June 14).

The stage would see social distancing measures fully relaxed, and remaining businesses including nightclubs reopen, as well as large-scale events such as weddings and theatre performances allowed with increased capacity.

However, ministers including Mr Hancock have previously made clear that the option of delaying the proposed reopening was not off the cards, with the goverment "absolutely open" to making the decision to postpone as concern about a rise in predominately Delta variant cases has caused concern.

The secretary of state said the new strain, first identified in India “has made the race tighter” between the vaccine and the virus.