Poll: Norfolk MP says rural pubs could get a boost by serving school meals - but do you think it’s a good idea?

Brandon Lewis, Great Yarmouth MP. Brandon Lewis, Great Yarmouth MP.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014
3:58 PM

The county’s pubs might want to consider following the lead of inns in other parts of the country by providing school meals for children, an MP has suggested.

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Great Yarmouth MP Brandon Lewis said such a move could benefit the pub industry and provide nutritious meals to youngsters.

Speaking in Rotherham, where he was attending an event to mark the renovation of the high street, Mr Lewis was asked if he supported pubs which had been providing school meals.

Swell Primary School in Stow-on-the-Wold, Gloucestershire, is one example, where pupils are taken to have their lunch at the Golden Ball Inn.

Communities minister Mr Lewis 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.”

And Mr Lewis said, if the children enjoy their visits, then pubs could benefit because they might suggest to their parents that they head back there.

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.
“If you have got a small school and a small pub, then it could be a match made in heaven, if they provide a good, nutritious meal for the children. If it’s good for the school and for the community, then that’s great.”

Conservative MP Mr Lewis said pubs which thrived were those which identified what their communities needed and plugged the gaps.

He said: “The best pubs are those which look at what the local community wants and then provides it, whether that’s gastropubs, ones which host cinemas or provide coffee shops.”

The comments from Mr Lewis come at a time when Norfolk County Council is in the midst of assessing all its schools to establish if they are ready to provide free schools meals.

Deputy prime minister Nick Clegg last year announced all infants will be entitled to free schools meals from this September, but there has been concern about whether schools are ready for the new policy.

Although it does not know how many schools do not have a kitchen, Norse provides catering services to 117 primary school dining centres which do not have full on-site kitchens.

However, it said not every school which lacks a kitchen will need an upgrade.

The council has received £1.9m of government funding, which it said it will prioritise to allow schools to meet their duty.

• Do you think it would be a good idea for pubs to offer school meals to children? Let us know your views by commenting below this story.

9 comments

  • Offering pubs a pittance to feed children is just another crazy Tory idea to get them into the papers. Which pub is going to cook meals for less than £2,- per head? I know they are hard up and some gastro pubs think big, striving for that first Michelin star, but this is not help, but hinderance. Beer duties should be halfed and the shortfall put on a selection of spirits, now that would bring pubs back to life, not this flummery.

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    ingo wagenknecht

    Thursday, April 24, 2014

  • Stupid idea... I go to the pub to get away from screaming kids, they are more of a pain in pubs than dogs will ever be, at least dogs sit still and don't charge about everywhere creating mayhem. Get the pubs to deliver, but not the other way round.

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    Mr T

    Thursday, April 24, 2014

  • A pie and a pint for school lunch? Worth going back to school for!!

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    la barbe

    Wednesday, April 23, 2014

  • You must know different Norfolk people to me then Maryjane if you associate chips with Norfolk plates. Although I will concede that some pubs in tourist honeypots ( and often run by incomers) are a bit fried food heavy.

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    Daisy Roots

    Wednesday, April 23, 2014

  • I think Mr Lewis has got the wrong end of the stick There's no way any pub wants hordes of kids running all over the place every day! The idea is that pubs prepare the food, not serve it. And as Daisy says, the best thing govt could do to help would be to legislate a statutory code to prevent greedy pubcos destroying our pubs - a year on we're still waiting.

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    Ian S

    Wednesday, April 23, 2014

  • Interesting concept.

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    DT

    Wednesday, April 23, 2014

  • Excellent idea - called community spirit. No reason why parents couldn't go along too-only reservation in Norfolk it could be chips with everything.

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    maryjane

    Wednesday, April 23, 2014

  • There is no reason a pub could not cook the meals and put them in containers to transport to the school to be eaten in the classroom. My primary school did not have a kitchen and meals came in great aluminium containers from one of the Lynn school kitchens and Wormegay school used to get its meals from a larger school a few miles away. If there is no school kitchen close a pub doing the meals is not a bad idea. Of course what rural pubs really need is a heavy hand on the shoulder of asset stripping companies which run them down in order to sell them for development and for councils to ensure that licences remain with a pub building no matter what the vendors try to covenant away in anti competitive measures.

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    Daisy Roots

    Wednesday, April 23, 2014

  • And who will supervise the children? Are teachers going to have to surrender their break? Presumably there is a large number of dinner ladies required? Another badly thought out idea by thus coalition.

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    Jeffrey Osborne

    Wednesday, April 23, 2014

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

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