Trump’s Scottish Golf Resorts Took $800,000 From Taxpayers To Save Jobs But Cut Workers
Union officials are calling for an investigation after it was revealed that golf resorts owned by former president Donald Trump accepted $800,000 in Covid relief while laying off ‘scores’ of workers.
The taxpayer-funded subsidies were intended to be used to protect jobs while facilities were closed during lockdown, however government documents show that despite receiving hundreds of thousands of pounds from the fund, at least 66 workers had been let go from Trump’s Scottish resorts since the pandemic first struck last year.
The National Union of Rail and Maritime Transport Workers – one of the largest organisations representing workers in the UK – has accused the Trump-owned resorts of an ‘all-out assault on jobs and conditions’, and ‘abuse’ of the UK’s pandemic job retention scheme.
Records obtained by Scottish newspapers show that Trump’s Turnberry resort in Ayrshire received $700,000 from the fund, while a second resort in Balmedie, Aberdeenshire received just over $100,000. Total funds received by the two resorts over a two-month period amounted to £575,000 ($800,000).
Speaking to The Scotsman, RMT General Secretary Mick Cash said:
It is clear to us that at the very least the principles of the job retention scheme appear to have been breached by the Trump Organization, and that should now be subjected to a detailed and forensic investigation.
Cash called for staff laid off by the resorts during the pandemic to be reinstated on ‘decent pay and conditions’ following reports that some staff had been rehired on reduced wages.
The Huffington Post reports that neither of Trump’s resorts have paid a single penny in corporation tax, with the two businesses having failed to report a profit since first opening. Yet despite this, Trump has claimed several thousands of pounds in government tax breaks given to the resort, per The Sunday Herald.
Across the pond, American observers have expressed concern over the payments, which were made at least in part while Trump was still president.
Former US Office of Government Ethics Director Walter Shaub told The Scotsman:
From the UK perspective, I can’t imagine the citizenry there would be any more happy than a majority of US citizens were about tax dollars propping up an American president’s business interests. It’s a disgrace to the very concept of democracy.
Trump’s resorts are not the only Scottish golf courses to have claimed large amounts of money from the UK Covid relief fund. Gleneagles in Perthshire claimed £1.5m and £3.5m, while St Andrews claimed between £200,000 and £500,000. The Scotsman reports that there is ‘no suggestion of impropriety’ on the part of any of the resorts.
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