The Government is planning to expand a scheme to back community pubs, it was revealed last week.
According to an interview with environment minister Jim Knight, the Government wants to expand the existing initiative beyond the rural pubs it currently backs.
Knight said that it was not just a rural issue and added: "Deprived urban areas face the same sort of challenges".
The existing scheme is called Pub is the Hub and it is backed by the Prince of Wales.
Since starting in 2001, the programme has supported about 15 pubs in rural areas that were under threat.
Community pubs are encouraged to combine their role as pub with that of post office, corner shop, newsagent and even dry-cleaners and prescription collection points.
Other backers of the project include the Post Office, the Countryside Agency and the Campaign for Real Ale.
Hospitality industry supporters include the Diageo Foundation, Enterprise Inns, Scottish & Newcastle and Punch Taverns.
By Andrew Sangster
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