12 October 2000
‘Rural pub role to widen’

VILLAGE pubs would double up as shops, post offices and internet cafes under Government plans, reports The Times.

This would re-establish them as the heart of the village and revitalise rural communities, believe ministers.

Provisions to ensure every community has access to the internet will be included in the Rural White Paper to be unveiled next month, claims the newspaper.

It says the initiative will be open to any local outlet which wants to take on new responsibilities.

Churches have already expressed an interest.

The Times says Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott has deliberately avoided putting forward a rural blueprint.

Instead he will put up cash for existing institutions to diversify into other areas.

Meanwhile, the Daily Mail considers the plight of the new rural poor reduced to hunting and gathering to make ends meet.

It reports of people taking cabbages from fields at night, and tending sheep in return for a bag of groceries.