US President Donald Trump’s golf courses in Scotland may receive a tax rebate of almost £1 million ($1.2 million), as part of the Scottish government’s bailout to shore up the COVID-19 crisis-hit tourism industry, The Guardian reports.
The Trump Organisation's golf resorts in Turnberry and Aberdeenshire will reportedly be the beneficiaries of the government’s emergency funding worth about £2.3 billion ($2.9 billion).
Trump Turnberry and Trump Aberdeenshire were supposed to pay £850,766 ($1.08 million) and £121,170 ($154,875), respectively, in property tax before the end of this year.
However, the local council in South Ayrshire is expected to tell both businesses later in the week that “they no longer have to pay that tax, known as business rates, because they qualify for 100% relief”, according to The Guardian.
The reported decision comes amid Democratic congressmen’s doubts about the legality of the Trump Organisation accepting benefits from a foreign country, such as the Scottish government’s bailout.
In this vein, it remains unclear whether Trump's business adhered to the House Oversight Committee’s request to provide all the documents pertaining to the company’s applications for loans or other funds by 21 May.
The Democrats were echoed by Noah Bookbinder, the executive director of the Washington-based non-profit organisation Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics, who argued as cited by The Guardian that “it is troubling that he [Trump] is getting essentially a benefit from the Scottish government, regardless whether it is an emolument”.
Bookbinder then went further by insisting that “you shouldn’t have a president who is in this kind of position who can say: ‘I like what the UK did and I benefitted’”.
Aberdeenshire councillor Martin Ford, for his part, said that although he had no objections to the Trump Organisation being shored up, “unlike many people, Mr Trump won’t be suffering any financial hardship” and that “he doesn’t need help”.
“Mr Trump was given every assistance to set up in Scotland and the Scottish government repeated his ridiculous claims of an enormous economic and jobs boost for the region. Now, after years of losses, Mr Trump’s Aberdeenshire business is actually getting taxpayer support, perhaps a final irony in a very sorry saga”.
Trump's son Eric, meanwhile, tweeted late last month that both of the president’s golf courses in Scotland will start working again as of 29 May. The tweet came just a few days after Trump Aberdeenshire announced that the resort’s reopening for the 2020 season would be postponed due to the COVID-19 lockdown in Britain.