Restaurants should offer tap water to children, LGA advises

The Local Government Association (LGA) has recommended that restaurants should offer free tap water to families which eat out instead of waiting for customers to request it.

The LGA claims the move would offer a healthy alternative to sugary drinks and help restaurants do their bit to tackle childhood obesity.
Current regulations dictate that all licensed premises must provide free tap water in England, Wales and Scotland, but not Northern Ireland. However, the LGA has said that one in five people are unaware of such rules.

An LGA survey found that 15 per cent of people who drink tap water at home never thing of asking for water in cafes and restaurants.

Izzi Seccombe, community wellbeing spokeswoman at the LGA, said: "While most restaurants will happily provide a glass of tap water on request, we're saying it shouldn't be something you have to ask for. Some people may be too embarrassed or find it awkward to ask for tap water. Others may simply forget it's an option.

"Water brings important health benefits and keeps people hydrated. For children it's an alternative to a sugary drink, while for adults it might dissuade them from ordering another alcoholic drink."

The move follows previous calls from the LGA urging for schools, nurseries and children centres to make tap water more available.