"Let them drink water" government officials cry as they outline plan to force restaurants to hand over free tap water

Jake Cordell
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It's glass half empty for the Local Government Association (LGA), who say restaurants need to start flaunting their free water offering
It's glass half empty for the Local Government Association (LGA), that said restaurants need to start flaunting their free water offering (Source: Getty)

Restaurants are being urged to hand over more precious tap water to their customers in the latest plan to tackle childhood obesity.

The Local Government Association (LGA) said eateries must "take responsibility" and start to offer diners a glass of free tap water as part and parcel of the restaurant experience, in a new report out today.

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"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," said Izzi Seccombe, community wellbeing spokeswoman at the LGA.

Just one in three customers drink tap water at restaurants even though 80 per cent of those surveyed by the LGA are aware that licensed premises in England, Scotland and Wales are obliged to hand over free glasses of the stuff to anyone that wants it.


Drink tap water in restaurants


80 per cent 

Aware that restaurants have to offer free tap water


15 per cent 

Drink tap water at home but would never ask for it at a restaurant


13 per cent 

Feel awkward asking for a free glass of water


Source: Local Government Association (LGA)

Researchers, presumably well-hydrated, darted about TV studios on Saturday morning to reveal just how good a glass from the tap really is for us.

"Water brings important health benefits and keeps people hydrated." Fancy that.

Read more: YouGov polling on the sugar tax

Pundits also gushed enviously about how being presented with a glass - even a bottle, for some lucky punters - of water was the norm on the continent and how they wanted the UK to adopt a more European outlook to all things l'eau.

"For children it's an alternative to a sugary drink, while for adults it might dissuade them from ordering another alcoholic drink," added Seccombe.

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