Golf resorts in Scotland owned by the family of disgraced former President Donald Trump secured as much as £3 million in furlough payments during lockdown.
Accounts published over Christmas have highlighted the impact of the pandemic on the Trumps’ loss-making operations in Aberdeenshire and Ayrshire – and confirmed some of the extent it relied on the tax payer-funded Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS).
Designed to prevent wide-scale job losses as businesses were force to shut or curtail operations, the CJRS cost the UK £69 billion by the time the scheme closed at the end of September.
21 jobs lost
Despite taking £451,770 furlough money at the operation on the Menie Estate in 2020, the number of employees fell to 63 in the year from 84.
The Trump’s Turnberry golf course and resort also took grants of £2.3million in the year. However the operation shed over 250 jobs – nearly half of the 541 people who were employed in 2019.
According to the statement in the accounts, signed by Eric Trump, son of Donald and the company’s executive vice president, the furlough scheme was “helpful to retain as many jobs as possible, and the majority of the employees were reinstated over the course of the year.”
It is thought the two companies accessed further furlough cash worth between £500,000 and £1.3m in 2021, before the scheme was shut down in August.
Turnover plummets amid pandemic closures
The accounts published at Companies House set out the difficulties the properties faced as the onset of the pandemic forced them to temporarily shut down.
Trump International Golf Club Scotland Limited, which owns the golf course in Aberdeenshire, saw a steep drop in turnover to £1.1m in the year end of December 2020 compared to £3.3m in 2019. The company’s losses rose to £1.3m from £1.1m in the prior year.
Nevertheless, Eric Trump insisted the company aimed to press ahead with its plans to expand the resort despite these also being hit by delays due to the pandemic.
Expansion plans ‘ongoing’
In his statement he said: “Progress continues to be made on the future expansion of the site with the development of a mixed-use, multi-faceted residential village and community leisure and resort facilities.
“However the pave of the project development plans was interrupted by Covid-19 and the many restrictions imposed on business and travel. Plans are ongoing and have moved forward in 2021.
He added: “Trump International continues to rank highly in the world golf rankings and plays an important part in the global Trump portfolio.
“The rising status of Trump International Golf Links, Scotland continues to exceed expectations, outranking many historic pedigree courses in the UK and further afield.”
Trump’s golf course in Aberdeenshire has been persistently lossmaking over several years.
Company owes Donald Trump more than £40million
The firm confirmed the company owes £40.6million loaned to it by the former President Trump.
The operation owes a further £4.7m to its parent company DJT Holdings.
When indebted companies make losses, they must report whether they are able to meet requirements as a “going concern”.
Another organisation related to the family, the Donald J Trump Revocable Trust, confirmed “all the necessary financial support is provided to the company for the forseeable future”, according to the accounts.
Trump International Scotland has been asked for comment.
Outside the accounts, government data has shown SLC Turnberry Ltd, a subsidiary of Golf Recreation Scotland Ltd, which owns the Turnberry, made further furlough claims of between £435,000 and £1.1m from January to August 2021, while Trump International Golf Club Scotland Limited, owner of the Aberdeenshire operation, claimed between £85,000 and £205,000 of furlough money in the same period, according to a report by the BBC.