SKY News is reporting that the owner of Butlin's holiday parks has said the leisure company could lay off 10,000 workers unless it is given significant state backing over the summer period.

It is understood that Paul Flaum, the chief executive of Bourne Leisure Group - the company which runs Butlin's resorts in Minehead, Skegness and Bognor Regis - has told the government in recent days that its entire seasonal workforce is at risk.

It has been reported that there is little prospect of seasonal workers being employed through the summer without emergency aid to pay workers' wages.

Bourne owns the Butlin's and Haven resorts, as well as Warner Leisure Hotels.

Butlin's Minehead closed on Wednesday, March 18 - and will be closed until April 20 at the earliest.

The company had come under scrutiny from locals after holding a large event the weekend before, when many mass gatherings elsewhere were being cancelled.

A company spokesman said:  “We have taken on circa. 10,000 seasonal employees for the summer season but we have now had  to temporarily  close our three brands to our holidaymakers until April 16.

"We value our team very highly and we are committed to paying them until April 16. We have been very active in communicating with them and talking about the current situation.

"We are  hopeful that the government recognises our commitment to our team who we value very highly and we are hopeful that they can come up  with a package to resolve this challenging issue and help our wonderful team.

"We also need to remember the leisure industry is the fourth largest industry in the UK, representing 11 per cent of GDP.”