Serving school children their school lunches in a pub will help preserve community inns by helping struggling pubs and feeding children “really good quality food”, says Brandon Lewis, the community pubs minister.

The Daily Telegraph reports that using pubs as coffee shops, village stores, cinemas and libraries will preserve their place in communities and encourage parents to dine there at weekends.

“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. It’s playing a part in the community and they might go back for Sunday lunch, and that makes the pub more sustainable.”

A small number of primary schools are already trialling the idea, which is likely to increase as ministers have pledged to provide a free school meal for all primary school children from September.