£180k price tag kills plan to wrap Cardiff office in union flag

Design on Ty William Morgan hub not "good value for the taxpayer"
The flag was set to adorn the Ty William Morgan building in Cardiff. Image: GOV.UK

The UK government has scrapped plans to wrap one of its Cardiff offices in a Union flag after deciding the £180,000 cost would “not represent good value for the taxpayer”.

Plans to wrap the Cardiff city centre hub – which is home to civil servants from HM Revenue and Customs, the Department for International Trade and the Cabinet Office – in an eight-storey flag graphic were approved by the local council in June.

They followed guidance published by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport in March that said the union flag should be flown on all government buildings every day, unless another flag is being flown for a specific purpose.

Previously, offices only needed to fly the flag, including the birthdays of members of the royal family, national days and Remembrance Day.

Then-culture secretary Oliver Dowden said at the time that “the union flag unites us as a nation and people rightly expect it to be flown above UK government buildings”.

However, the Cardiff graphic was met with opposition, with 20,000 people signing a petition against it. The Welsh political movement YesCymru meanwhile called the plan "a blatant political act designed to act as a provocation to the people of Wales".

The government has now confirmed it has abandoned the idea, given how much it would cost to display.

“The secretary of state for Wales has halted plans for a union flag design on the outside of the Ty William Morgan building in Cardiff because the final estimated cost of its installation, around £180,000, did not represent good value for the taxpayer,” a government spokesperson said.

“Ty William Morgan is the first UK government hub in Wales and will house more than 4,000 staff in the heart of Cardiff from a range of departments, including the Wales Office, HMRC, Department for International Trade and Cabinet Office.”

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