Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Spanish tiles

Prince Charles has been accused of "commercial treason" over his decision to grant a Royal Warrant to a Spanish company - at the expense of a British competitor.

Porcelanosa, the Spanish tiling company, won the seal of approval after carrying out extensive work at Charles's royal residences and donating hundreds of thousands of pounds to his favourite charities.

James Wickes is a co-owner of the 130-year-old British Ceramic Tiles, which had hoped to gain royal approval for its 300-strong workforce.

"A Royal Warrant needs to be earned and I don't expect them to be dished out to any old company. When I heard that one had been granted to Porcelanosa I did think it was a bit like awarding the Red Baron a Victoria Cross." In my opinion, a very poor analogy given that the Red Baron was actually an enemy of England.

Kevin Farrell, chief executive of the British Ceramic Confederation, said: "I'd be very surprised if the King of Spain would be so helpful to a British company. Another poor comparison since Charles is not the King of England. Perhaps the Prince of Asturias would have been a better choice. I would have thought all of us in the UK would champion what is British, and British-made."

You employ Polish plumbers and Italian football managers. Britain imports so much it's a wonder there are any British companies suitable for Royal Warrants.

In this case however, could it just be that Porcelanosa's tiles were simply better?

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