Government spends more than £163,000 on Union flag in two yearsAugust 7, 2021
Boris has spent more than £163,000 on Union flags in two years as part of drive to boost national pride
- Over £163,000 spend amounts to 85 per cent of flag purchases over four years
- Department for Culture and Media spent over £54,000 replacing worn-out flags
- The figures reveal the Treasury spent nearly £1,000 on Union flags since 2018
The Government has spent more than £163,000 on Union flags in two years as part of its drive to boost pride in the national symbol.
That figure, spent in 2020 and 2021, amounts to 85 per cent of flag purchases over the past four years.
Data reported by the Guardian showed spending has increased in virtually every Whitehall department since Boris Johnson became Prime Minister.
The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) spent £54,420.89 last year alone as worn-out flags were replaced.
While the Ministry of Defence has forked out £118,000 on flag purchases since the start of 2018.
The Cabinet Office has spent more than £3,000 since the start of 2018, with just under £2,000 of that funding the purchase of eight flags in the most recent financial year.
The Government has spent more than £163,000 on Union flags in two years as part of its drive to boost pride in the national symbol
The figures, revealed by Freedom of Information Act requests, found the Treasury has spent nearly £1,000 on Union flags since 2018, including three this year at a cost of £607.06.
The Department for Transport has spent £1,100 since 2018, including £700 last year, the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government spent £90.05 on the flags this year, with no record of purchases in other recent years.
The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy spent £392 this year and last – zero in the years previously – while the Department for Work and Pensions spent £1,045 in the last three years.
The Department for International Trade spent £653.05 this year and last.
The Department for Education spent £134 in 2019, the Wales Office has spent £824 since 2018. This included £597.50 in 2020-21 and the same amount again on Welsh flags.
Figures reported by the Guardian showed spending had increased in virtually every Whitehall department since Boris Johnson became Prime Minister
Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden said the flag was a ‘proud reminder of our history and the ties that bind us’, and ‘people rightly expect it to be flown above UK Government buildings’
Robert Colls, professor of cultural history at De Montfort University, told the Guardian: ‘I think what we are seeing at the moment from the Government is a kind of pushback against devolution and threats to the Union.’
In March, the DCMS published new guidance calling for the flag to be flown every day above Government buildings.
At the time, Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden said the flag was a ‘proud reminder of our history and the ties that bind us’, and ‘people rightly expect it to be flown above UK Government buildings’.
Housing, Communities and Local Government Secretary Robert Jenrick at the time wrote to all councils in England in a bid to encourage them to fly the flag on their buildings.
The move also allowed dual flagging – where two flags can be flown on one pole.
Exemptions apply when other flags – such as national flags of England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, county flags or other flags to mark ‘civic pride’ – are flown.
Union Jacks above government buildings on Whitehall Street. Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden said: ‘The Union flag unites us as a nation and people rightly expect it to be flown above UK Government buildings’
Union Jack flag on a tower of Parliament. The site of the flag flying could now become a daily occurrence above councils across the country
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