UK Politics

Pupils should have lunch in pubs, says minister


Schoolchildren should sometimes be served pub lunches to provide them with "really good quality food" and make sure licensed premises are viewed in a "positive way", a minister has said.

Communities minister Brandon Lewis said that village inns could also double up as cinemas, libraries and stores.

He told the Daily Telegraph that making pubs the heart of their communities would help them remain viable.

It is estimated that more than 20 pubs a week are closing across the UK.

Speaking in Rotherham, Mr Lewis said organising trips to the local to serve pupils lunch would also encourage parents to visit.

'Use or lose'

"If they've got children at lunchtime, going to school and having a good meal, the parents are going to view that pub in a positive way," he said. "It's playing its part in the community and they might go back for Sunday lunch, and that makes the pub more sustainable."

He added: "Use it or you will lose it. The amount of times I've met someone who is lamenting the loss of a local pub.

"If you ask them how often they visited it, it was lucky if it was once a month. It's the same for the high street."

From this September, all infant pupils in English state schools will be entitled to a free lunch.

Concerns have been raised over whether there is enough kitchen capacity to ensure this, but ministers insist adequate funding is in place and support is being offered to schools which feel they are unable to cope.

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