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Volume 691: debated on Wednesday 24 March 2021

The Union flag will now be flown on UK Government buildings every day unless another flag is being flown—acting as a visual symbol of the UK’s union, heritage and pride.

Currently, Union flags are only required to be flown on all UK Government buildings in England, Wales and Scotland on designated days, such as the Queen’s birthday.

The changes will apply to all Government buildings across the UK, with the Union flag being flown by default if nothing else is being flown, such as another national flag of the UK, or a county flag or other flags to mark civic pride. The guidance will also encourage other buildings, such as councils, to follow this example, where they have a flagpole and wish to fly a flag.

The Union flag is the national flag of the United Kingdom, and it is so called because it embodies the emblems of the three constituent nations united under one sovereign—the Kingdoms of England and Wales, of Scotland and of Northern Ireland. It serves as a reminder of our shared history and union. Flags other than the Union, such as national flags of the constituent nations of the United Kingdom, the armed forces flag, the Commonwealth flag, county and other local flags, can be flown on non-designated days.

We will also cut red tape to allow dual flagging—where two flags can be flown on one pole. This will allow organisations to highlight local and national identities, for example by flying a Middlesex county flag alongside the Union flag in Middlesex, or the Saltire alongside the Union flag in Scotland Where organisations have two flag poles, they can fly the Union flag alongside another flag—for example, flying the Saltire alongside the Union flag in Scotland.

The Union flag must always be flown in the superior position.

Following our departure from the European Union, planning regulations (in England) introduced by the then Government in 2007 that allow the EU flag to be flown on public buildings without securing express consent in the normal way will also be removed.

Instead, new “deemed consent” will be granted for the NHS flags. This will allow for NHS flags to be flown, without the need for express consent—alongside the Union flag.

The changes will help champion the UK’s national identities and strengthen our shared pride in the Union through the institutions that define Britain.

This guidance is published today and will apply from the summer.

The attachment can be viewed online at: http://www.