Health Secretary Matt Hancock has refused to commit to allowing hair salons to open on June 15 amid growing calls from hairdressers that they are ready to pick up the scissors.

Mr Hancock said he would "love" to be able to reopen hairdressers at the earliest opportunity, but admitted that the close proximity the profession requires is "a challenge" for social distancing rules.

He also praised his wife for doing "a fantastic job" in cutting his hair during the lockdown after salons were forced to close on March 24.

Mr Hancock said the challenge of having to be in close contact with people in order to cut their hair is "not an insurmountable challenge" if protective equipment were to be put in place.

Speaking on ITV's This Morning about the possibility of opening salons in the near future, he said: "I would love to be able to do that and the way to do that is to ensure that, when it is safe to do so, hairdressing is brought back in a way that itself is safe. So, protective equipment.

"We are working on what it would look like to have the protective equipment, exactly as you say, in place.

"Hairdressing, like so many industries, we're doing everything we can to support them through what is inevitably an incredibly difficult time."

Pushed on whether June 15 could be feasible as an opening date, he added: "I can't commit to doing it on that timetable but I can commit to working with the hairdressing industry, I already am, and talking to some of their representatives who are making this case and seeing how we could go about it.

"I'm sure everybody understands that it has got to be done in a way that is safe to do."

When complimented on his own lockdown hairstyle, Mr Hancock replied: "My wife cut it and I think she did a fantastic job."

The Government has set out a road map to reopen the economy after the UK coronavirus lockdown.

But whilst non-essential retailers in England will open from June 15, hairdressers and beauty salons in England are not expected to reopen until July 4 at the earliest as there is thought to be a higher level of risk involved.

The Government has not yet published guidelines for how the industry will operate after the lockdown. However, social distancing measures are expected to be put in place.

Meanwhile, research conducted by MoneySuperMarket suggested that those who have cut their own hair during the lockdown have saved £35 on average.