Schoolchildren should be given pub lunches in a move that could save the beleaguered industry and ensure pupils receive healthy and nutritious meals at lunch-time, a minister has claimed.
Communities minister Brandon Lewis said that organising school trips to pubs at lunchtime could offer solutions to both problems.
Speaking in Rotherham, Mr Lewis claimed said: "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."
Mr Lewis said that pubs needed to expand the activities that they offered to local people if they were going to survive in the future.
He suggested pubs doubling up as cinemas, stores and even libraries play a bigger role in the community.
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.”
Mr Lewis said that he met people on a daily basis that “lamented the loss of their local pub” and he wanted to ensure that they stayed a focal point of the local community.
He said that if local communities aren’t “using them”, they run the risk of “losing them".
Lewis' suggestions come a few months before the Free School Meal scheme for children in reception and years one and two.
Head teachers have raised fears as to whether school kitchens will be able to cope with the scheme brought in by the Coalition Government last year.
Nevertheless, ministers insist that enough support and funding is in place to ensure the scheme can will be implemented without any problems.