Donald Trump’s two Scottish golf resorts collected up to $800,000 in subsidies from the British government to protect jobs during COVID-19 but fired “scores” of workers, a top union complained Sunday.
Union officials called the money grab a “scandal” and are calling for a government investigation.
Trump’s SLC Turnberry Ltd received as much as $700,000 in taxpayer funds, while his resort in Balmedie, Aberdeenshire, was paid up to $100,000 in just two months, according to government documents, reported the Scottish Sun. (The amounts are reported in ranges.)
Some other golf resorts collected as much or even more. But the National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers complained to The Scotsman that the Trump Organization “hoovering up” public money while cutting staff made a “mockery” of a program specifically designed to save jobs.
The union said some 66 workers were let go at Turnberry in Ayrshire since last spring. Some have been hired back but at reduced pay, according to the union.
“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” by Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs department, said the RMT’s General Secretary Mick Cash. “It’s a scandal.”
When Trump wooed both Ireland and Scotland to allow him to develop golf resorts in both countries, he promised the operations would deliver major tax revenue. In fact, it appears the Trump Organization hasn’t paid a penny in taxes at any of the resorts because of constantly reported losses.
In 2017, Turnberry was granted a $147,000 tax break. The resort was later cut out of the program that was intended to give struggling companies a break, the Sunday Herald reported.
“It’s bad enough that he has a business presence in Scotland,” Patrick Harvie, a member of the Scottish Parliament from the Green Party, told the newspaper after the decision was made. “It’s galling to learn that the public purse is giving him a helping hand.”
The Trump Organization did not immediately respond to a request from HuffPost for comment.