A family-run luxury car rental and chauffeur business in Glasgow will be one of the single biggest beneficiaries of Donald Trump’s visit to Scotland this weekend, with the US government paying it nearly £1 million to help lay on VIP transport, The Scotsman has learned.
Little’s Chauffeur Drive, based in the city’s Bellahouston area, is in line to receive a six-figure sum as part of a deal to provide a fleet of luxury vehicles for the US president’s entourage. The US State Department has placed nine purchase and delivery orders with the Paisley Road West firm. Cumulatively, the cost runs to a staggering $1,260,139 (£959,904), a bill which will ultimately be footed by US taxpayers.
Little’s, which was established in 1966, has previously provided vehicle hire for UK politicians and is accustomed to transporting VIPs and celebrities around Scotland. But its contact with the Trump administration represents one of its biggest paydays.
The single most expensive order, placed by the State Department on 2 July, is worth $709,930 (£539,951). The order cites the payment as being for “passenger car rental”.
The exact number of vehicles being hired via Little’s is not clear, but is understood the orders will cover airport transfers from Prestwick Airport to Turnberry, as well as transportation for the visiting US businessmen who joined Eric Trump at the Trump International Golf Links in Aberdeenshire.
A source familiar with the contract said: “Although there have been motorcades flown in from the US to both Stansted and Prestwick for the presidential visit, the logistics required other vehicles to be hired on the ground in the UK.
“It’s not an uncommon arrangement for a foreign visit but it is certainly costly, that would be fair to say.”
The payments were made via the US Embassy in London, and authorised by the State Department’s Bureau of European and Eurasian affairs, which is responsible for developing and implementing US foreign policy.
Little’s fleet of vehicles includes the Jaguar XF, Mercedes E Class, and six-door Mercedes limousines.
On its website, the company describes itself as “a proud family business headquartered in Scotland” which provides an “award-winning chauffeur service worldwide”.
A section of the website dedicated to its “VIP transport” service states that the company offers “the most reliable and discreet chauffeur drive service available”.
It adds: “High-profile clients can trust Little’s with their travel plans, their safety and the security of any confidential arrangements or information.”
Last month, The Scotsman revealed that the US State Department spent more than £10,000 in relation to trips made by Eric Trump to his father’s resort at Turnberry. And in May, The Scotsman published details of payments worth £5,600 made directly to SLC Turnberry, which remains fully owned by the US president via a New York-based revocable trust.
Mr Trump was due to fly into Prestwick Airport at 7:40pm last night, before travelling on to Turnberry, where he was expected to arrive shortly after 8:30pm.
The president has no public engagements scheduled as part of his two-day stay at the resort.
Little’s Chauffeur Drive declined to comment.
A spokeswoman for the US State Department said it does not comment on the specifics of Mr Trump’s travel plans.