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Scrutiny over Government Flag contracts

After a detailed look at the nation’s finances, a range of private contracts have been identified that supply flags to the UK’s state departments and national events that could be cut back.

Some government offices had become “too rich” on support from the state, according to Francis Maude, a Cabinet Office minister. He has promised to drive down the costs of the biggest contracts. Maude’s study showed that the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) had spent £95,506 last year on flag-flying, employing a number of private flag makers and maintenance firms.

His department has the responsibility for supplying and managing the flag-flying services for state ceremonial occasions, including trooping the colour, state visits, and special flag days, including UN Day, Commonwealth Day and Europe Day.

The department uses Brophy Ltd to put flags up and down in the Mall, Parliament Square, Horse Guards Road and Windsor. It also carries out maintenance and safety checks on the flagpoles. A second firm, Flag Consultancy, provides new flags.

A publication of government spending of over 194,000 items since the election has revealed some firms receive more money than whole government departments to deliver services.

Maude said:

Some margins in some of the contracts… were not evidence of the contracts having been very rigorously negotiated. They were too rich. Part of it is the terms which are not toughly negotiated so [there is] insufficient control – people [are] able to make too much money.

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Flagmakers are one of the UK's longest established flag makers, specialising in hand-sewn and digitally printed flags, all manufactured here in the UK.

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