The Union Flag and Flags of the United Kingdom

Published 13 March 2013

The purpose of this Note is to set out a brief history of the flags of the United Kingdom and to explain the current guidance issued by the DCMS. This Note also refers to the current guidance issued by the devolved administrations of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

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The Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) launched a consultation on altering the guidance for flying the Union Flag from UK Government buildings on 25 July 2007.

As a result of the consultation, since March 2008 the UK Government Departments have the freedom to fly the Union Flag from government buildings all year round in addition to the designated fixed flag flying days. In November 2012 also the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG), following a public consultation, introduced a new liberalised regulations on flying flags which widened the types of flags which may be flown in England.

The purpose of this Note is to set out a brief history of the flags of the United Kingdom and to explain the current guidance issued by the DCMS. This Note also refers to the current guidance issued by the devolved administrations of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Commons Briefing papers SN04474

Author: Agnieszka Suchenia

Topics: Central government, Devolution, Parliament

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