After months of coronavirus-related closures, non-essential retailers will be able to apply to trade from 07:00 BST Monday to Saturday.

Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick said the move would help businesses to recover and customers to shop safely.

He said councils will be asked to avoid "unnecessary restrictions" on hours.

Under the road map for easing England's coronavirus restrictions, non-essential shops are permitted to reopen from 12 April at the earliest, providing the government's four tests are met.

Shops will be able to extend their opening hours from 07:00 to 22:00 from Monday to Saturday, to help customers avoid peak times and to ease the pressure on transport, according to the Ministry of Local Government.

Dominic Curran of the British Retail Consortium said it welcomed the announcement of extended opening hours, as it would allow people to avoid the busier shopping periods.

He added: "Retailers have invested hundreds of millions in making their stores Covid-secure, implementing additional hygiene measures, perspex screens, social distancing and more."

Mr Jenrick said the temporary measures would "support businesses to reopen and recover", alongside a £56m "Welcome Back Fund" announced by the government last week.

He said: "This will provide a much-needed boost for many businesses - protecting jobs, reducing pressure on public transport and supporting people and communities to continue to visit their high streets safely and shop locally."

In a written ministerial statement on Thursday, Mr Jenrick said he would ask local councils to take a "positive and flexible approach" to shops wishing to extend their opening hours.

He said the government acknowledged that longer retail hours could have a "temporary impact" on local residents, but this had to be balanced by the "significant public interest in ensuring there is a safe retail environment when non-essential shops reopen".

The government said it would also continue to allow pubs and restaurants to put up marquees to help increase seating capacity in a Covid-secure way.

Flexible working hours on construction sites will also be extended, and food deliveries to supermarkets will be allowed over more time periods, No 10 said.