Home Blog Report: Former President’s Golf Resorts Claimed Over £3m in UK Government Assistance

Report: Former President’s Golf Resorts Claimed Over £3m in UK Government Assistance

Former President Claimed £3m in Covid Aid

Big news overseas regarding the former U.S. president. Reports have recently emerged that indicate Donald Trump’s golf resorts in Scotland claimed an astonishing amount in pandemic aid. The UK government, like many others around the world, provided assistance to help struggling businesses to maintain employment levels.

Records from the company itself show that the one of Trump’s resorts laid off over 270 employees. While the job cuts were blamed on the pandemic, the company also applied for nearly £3 million in furlough assistance.

Other government data shows Trump Turnberry and Trump International Scotland in Aberdeenshire then made further claims this year while the UK government’s job retention scheme was still in force.

The BBC reported those claims, not yet included in the Trump companies’ accounts, were worth between £520,000 and £1.3m, leading to a total claim for furlough funding of between £3.3m and £4.1m overall.

The resorts reported heavy losses due to their enforced closure during the lockdowns: the headline loss for Turnberry was £3.4m, after a £321,000 profit in 2019, and £1.3m at Balmedie, compared to a loss of £1.1m in 2019.

Furthermore, records also show that the two golf resorts took out loans directly from Trump himself as well as another holding company. Accounts reflect a debt to the tune of over £150 million. The accounts report the assets – the land, buildings and equipment – at Turnberry are worth £86m, and £32m for the Aberdeenshire resort.

The accounts suggest the family holding company injected £1.1m into the Balmedie business to help with day-to-day cashflow after it was forced to close the resort’s boutique hotel, named after his Scottish mother, Mary MacLeod, for the whole of 2020. It did not reopen until April this year.

The accounts show the headcount at Turnberry, which has a five-star hotel, holiday lodges, a spa, ballroom and two championship golf courses, fell from an average of 541 employees in 2019 to 289 in 2020. At the much smaller Aberdeenshire resort, average staffing dropped from 84 posts to 63 last year.

In a foreword to the accounts, Trump’s son Eric, who was given day-to-day control of the businesses after his father won the presidency, said the UK government’s cash was helpful because it helped retain staff. Many were later rehired, he said.

“Government support was helpful to retain as many jobs as possible, however uncertainty of [sic] the duration of support and the pandemic’s sustained impact meant that redundancies were required to prepare the business for the long-term effects to the hospitality industry,” he said.

Global controls on air travel, particularly from the US golfing visitors; the impacts on staffing, supply chains and costs from Brexit; and general inflation, had all hit the Trump businesses, he added.

The U.S. House of Representatives are investigating whether or not Trump violated a constitutional clause meant to prevent presidents from collecting financial benefits from another government.

The Guardian reported last year that Trump’s Scottish resorts were expected to receive property tax rebates of nearly £1m because business rate payments for hospitality and tourism businesses had been suspended due to the pandemic.

Back in the United States, legislation was adopted to prevent Trump-owned businesses from cashing in on funds dedicated to pandemic assistance. Under Scottish and UK legislation, his Scottish resorts were given the same rights to claim as any other comparable business.

Read the original article on The Guardian.

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