A pub boss has said he would be happy for his currently vacant venues to be used as vaccination centres if needed.

The offer came after a survey showed that most pub owners would be willing to open up their vacant properties for such purposes.

Phil Simpson, director of Lancaster Brewery which runs the Duke of Edinburgh in Barrow and The Mill at Ulverston, said: "We would be 100 per cent happy to do something like that, but nobody has contacted us about this as of yet.

"I don't think you would find many pub owners who wouldn't volunteer the space to be honest.

"There is no reason why this couldn't be done.

"In terms of space, there is nothing much bigger than our place in Ulverston, the same goes for the Duke of Edinburgh in Barrow.

"I would of course be open to something like this.

"I have a lot of staff staying at home and they would be ready and willing to do something like this."

As part of the Countryside Alliance’s ongoing consultation with rural pub landlords, 80 per cent of the 65 rural pubs owners and landlords agreed with the Adam Smith Institute’s recommendation that empty sites normally occupied by businesses in the hospitality sector, including pubs, could be called on as part of the national effort to speed up access to vaccinations.

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Pubs from across the UK serve as community hubs, all year round. In many rural areas, particularly in the isolated areas in Scotland and Wales, pubs can be one of the only buildings for miles around.

On top of this, pubs – as well as other hospitality venues – benefit from commercial grade refrigeration (most of which will now be empty) which could be used to store the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine at the required 2-8 degrees Celsius.

The Adam Smith Institute argue that venues that are not typically used for vaccinations could be overseen by local medical professionals serving as devolved management. To incentivise participation, the Government could compensate venues or provide opportunities for former or furloughed staff members.

Mo Metcalf-Fisher, of the Countryside Alliance, said: “Pubs aren’t just places to see off a pint; they are act a central hub in some of the most remote spots on our precious isles. "It is no surprise that so many publicans are in favour of allowing their otherwise unused premises to be used in the rollout of the vaccination at this critical time for our country, especially in rural areas.

"Just as pubs have been with us through thick and thin before, they want to do their part in keeping people safe and speeding up the much needed return to normality we crave.

"Their offer should be heeded.”