EXCL Donald Trump’s flagship international resort claimed up to half a million pounds in UK taxpayers’ money via a Covid-19 job fund - despite making scores of redundancies during the pandemic. Union officials are demanding a govt investigation. Thread 👇scotsman.com/news/politics/…
Trump’s UK firms have received as much as £575,000 via the UK Govt’s job retention scheme, though the data compiled and published by HMRC to date only spans Dec ‘20 and Jan ‘21, meaning the total claim is likely to be significantly higher.
At least £110,000 of the public funding was claimed while Trump was still in situ in the White House.
The so-called furlough scheme is designed to ensure employers can retain and continue to pay staff amid the ruinous economic effects of Covid-19. Despite claiming hundreds of thousands of pounds, the Trump Org wielded the axe to its Scottish workforce.
The @RMTunion said at least 66 jobs have been lost at Turnberry since last summer. It described the Trump Org’s use of the Covid-19 job retention payment scheme as an “abuse” of the system.
Mick Cash, the union’s general secretary, told me: “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 Organisation, and that should now be subjected to a detailed and forensic investigation by HMRC.”
Scottish Labour’s @votecolinsmyth, who has raised questions about Turnberry’s redundancies in the Scottish Parliament, said: “It’s appalling that Trump has been getting bailouts from the UK government on one hand while handing out redundancy notices to workers with the other.”
The full amount of money claimed by the Trump Org via various Scottish and UK Covid-19 schemes is unclear, but Trump’s resorts, like all hospitality venues, are currently exempt from business rates thanks to a Scottish Govt mitigation scheme, saving him circa £880,000 a year.
This issue has sparked widespread concern in the US, where ethics watchdogs expressed unease at the Trump Org’s solicitation of Covid-19 funding from an overseas administration (provisions in the Congress mean Trump's firms are largely unable to access US pandemic relief funds)
.@waltshaub, a former director of @OfficeGovEthics, told me: “I can't imagine the UK citizenry 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"
.@AREvers from @weareoversight told me: “By linking his business and the power of the presidency, Trump made it impossible for governments to interact with the Trump Organisation without a conflict of interest or fear of reprisal looming over policy decisions.”
.@CREWcrew’s Jordan Libowitz said: “The fact Trump got funds to prevent layoffs after laying off staff only raises further Qs. There have long been Qs about Trump and govt aid, stretching back to millions for hurricane damage to Mar-a-Lago that no one can remember happening.”
I asked the Trump Org for comment, and for a breakdown of precisely how much its Scottish subsidiary entities claimed via the UK Government's job retention scheme between March and December last year. It did not respond.
I'll be pursuing this. In the meantime, my DMs are open if you have a tip about this, or any other related issue. Thanks for reading.

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More from @MartynMcL

25 Apr
EXCL: Donald Trump’s golf resorts in Scotland and Ireland charged the US Secret Service more than £17,000 for a series of previously undisclosed trips during his first full year in office. My story in today's @scotonsunday

The Secret Service spending records were obtained via FoI by @weareoversight and passed to me. Austin Evers, the organisation's executive director, told me the Trumps continued to "line their pockets" with public money.
The glacial rate at which US FoI requests are expedited means will likely take years before the full extent of how Trump's private biz in Scotland charged the US government becomes clear. The bill at Turnberry alone already exceeds £300k.
Read 4 tweets
18 Apr
Here is my Insight longread for @scotonsunday on the implications of Greensill capital’s collapse for Sanjeev Gupta’s Scottish steel firms and, by extension, Scottish taxpayers. Thread👇scotsman.com/news/politics/…
The potential exposure to the public purse could be circa £575m, due to the SG’s 25 year guarantee to Gupta’s Lochaber subsidiary, which will see the govt buy power its hydro plant generates in the event its smelter shuts down.
The guarantee was approved after the govt enlisted EY to carry out due diligence But seven months *after* the deal was done, the govt hired Deloitte to give advice and flag up “key risks.". Deloitte is still retained on the SG payroll, at a cost to taxpayers of around £200k.
Read 6 tweets
4 Apr
EXCL: The UK Government has been accused of turning COP26 into a “greenwashing platform” after partnering with a firm condemned by environmental groups for sourcing palm oil products from businesses accused of widespread deforestation activities. Thread👇
Reckitt, the government’s latest ‘top tier’ sponsor of the upcoming COP26 climate change summit, may not be a familiar name, but it owns household brands like Dettol, Vanish and Nurofen. It uses more than 134,000 tonnes of palm oil products to make its goods every year.
Its suppliers include Wilmar International, the world’s largest palm oil trader, which has been implicated in deforestation activity and human rights abuses by groups including Amnesty International.
Read 13 tweets
4 Apr
EXCL: The SNP has been accused of spurning evidence-based policy after striking a £56m deal to renew its flagship baby box scheme two days before the pre-election recess - and before an independent evaluation of the initiative has been completed. Thread👇scotsman.com/news/politics/…
The baby box is a widely popular and inclusive policy, but it’s sold as more than a feel-good initiative. The problem is there’s no evidence of how it’s helping address child health, poverty, inequality, or engagement with hard to reach families.
The SNP continues to claim that the Finnish baby box model - the blueprint for the Scottish scheme - reduces infant mortality. There is not a fleck of evidence to support this claim.
Read 7 tweets
28 Mar
EXCL Children as young as 11 - under the age of criminal prosecution - are among 5,996 youngsters held overnight in police custody across Scotland since 2018. A leading children’s rights academic said children’s rights are being breached. Thread👇scotsman.com/news/politics/…
These figures emerged following a carefully tailored freedom of information request I sent to Police Scotland, seeking breakdowns by age / location of children being detained in police custody. The fact this info isn’t proactively or publicly published is a prob I’ll return to.
I found that 95 children aged 13 or under were among those held overnight in police custody. But the figure jumps to 827 among 14 and 15 year-olds, and even higher (5,074) among those aged 16 and 17.
Read 21 tweets
3 Feb
A short thread on an interesting day covering the Holyrood vote on Trump: I'm perhaps more interested than most in obtaining answers to Qs surrounding Trump's finances. I never thought they'd arrive via a legislature, whether in Scotland or the US. Today confirmed that.
The courts, whether via criminal or civil cases, is the likeliest avenue for transparency. The multiple cases involving Trump's firms may yet reveal that, but the progress is glacial.
After years of obfuscation and by the Scottish Govt, I thought @HumzaYousaf made a strong argument in his amendment and debate. It didn't adequately address the fact that a UWO is a civil power and an investigative tool, but the principle he set out is important.
Read 8 tweets

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