Sheffield Council issues statement on Union flag flying every day at government buildings

The Union flag should be flown every day at government buildings across England, Wales and Scotland, under new rules.

Thursday, 25th March 2021, 2:50 pm

Sheffield Council has responded to the patriotic new guidance, which was issued by culture secretary Oliver Dowden yesterday, just days after a row over comments about the flag on BBC Breakfast.

A council spokeswoman confirmed that the Union flag already flies above Sheffield Town Hall every day, has done so ‘for a long time’ and will continue to do so.

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The Union flag will continue to be flown from Sheffield Town Hall every day (pic: Peter Wolstenholme)

She added that the red, white and blue flag flies at half mast ‘under government instruction’ or at ‘times of remembrance’, including to mark the death of Captain Sir Tom Moore earlier this year.

Until now, the Union flag was only required to be flown at government buildings on designated days.

But under the new rules, it should be flown all year round, unless a different flag is being displayed, such as another national flag of the UK or a county flag.

The Union flag at half mast above Sheffield Town Hall in tribute to Captain Sir Tom Moore

Planning permission will now be required to fly the EU flag from public buildings in the UK, unlike before, but the NHS flag can be flown without the need to seek approval.

A council spokeswoman said it currently flies the EU flag ‘under government instruction or on significant days such as EU Day’, with the same applying to the NHS flag.

She added that other national flags go up to mark events like St David’s Day and St Patrick’s Day.

Announcing the new rules, Mr Dowden said: “The Union flag unites us as a nation and people rightly expect it to be flown above UK Government buildings. This guidance will ensure that happens every day, unless another flag is being flown, as a proud reminder of our history and the ties that bind us.”

BBC Breakfast host Charlie Stayt last week faced criticism for joking during a TV interview about the size of the Union flag behind communities secretary Robert Jenrick.

Mr Jenrick, who has written to councils across England urging them to fly the Union flag from their buildings, said it was a ‘symbol of liberty, unity and freedom that creates a shared sense of civic pride’.