British driving licences to display the Union flag

The government has announced that all British driving licences issued from now on will carry the Union flag alongside the existing European Union flag.

Any driver in England, Scotland or Wales who applies for a new licence or changes their personal details will be issued with the updated card, which ministers say will inspire patriotism.

Government officials first tried to introduce the Union flag on licences two years ago when David Cameron said that he wanted to see the flag on British photocard licences.

However, the final stages were left until after the Scottish referendum, and the government is now using the opportunity to upgrade licences with microchips as well as changing designs.

An EU directive passed in 2006 required the EU flag to be featured on all European licences, however other symbols are permitted to be on the cards.

According to ministers, the driving licence is the single most widely used identity document in the country along with the passport, and they claim that the use of the EU flag only is ‘an anomaly’.

National pride

Transport Minister Claire Perry said: “People in this country rightly take pride in our national flag which is why I am delighted it will now be displayed on British driving licences.

“Celebrating Britain strengthens our sense of national identity and our unity. I will feel proud to carry my new licence and I hope others will too.”

However, the move has caused extreme controversy amongst drivers outside of England, with many Scottish and Welsh motorists left angered at the decision.

Scotland’s Daily Record also reported that 73 per cent of Scottish drivers should be able to display the Scottish saltire as an alternative.

Meanwhile, more than 3,000 Welsh motorists have already signed a petition which urges the Welsh government to oppose the plans.

Wrexham councillor Arfon Jones said: “This is just a further attempt by Westminster to create a British identity by social engineering. They are still scared after the close shave of the Scottish referendum. We should resist.”

Other improvements

However, the DVLA believes that the move will “provide road users with a symbolic sign of their national identity” and noted that it’s just one of many improvements being made for drivers.

In October last year, the DVLA announced that licence fees would drop dramatically, and has also made efforts to streamline processes by abolishing paper tax discs and setting up new online sites.

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