We are helping families to keep more of what they earn by raising the personal allowance, which has gone up to £12,500. As a result, 2.4 million Scottish taxpayers received a cut in their tax in 2019-20 compared with 2015-16.
As well as letting hard-working families keep more money in their pockets—in stark contrast to the Scottish Government, who are taxing 22,000 of my constituents more than they would be taxed if they lived in England—raising the personal allowance also takes some of the lowest paid out of tax altogether. Will my right hon. Friend confirm how many people in Scotland have been taken out of paying income tax by the Conservative Government?
Does the Secretary of State realise that people on universal credit automatically lose 63% of those tax benefits? That is contributing to the fact that more than 34,000 tenants on universal credit in Scotland now owe over £21 million in rent arrears, an average of £644. Will he look at the impact of universal credit on Scottish people, and particularly those in low-income households?
I am always willing to look at specifics. Of course, we are working with the Scottish Government to bring forward the variations in universal credit that they are seeking, and one of those variations relates to the payment of rent. Another point I have made many times at this Dispatch Box is that the Scottish Government also have wide-ranging powers to make additional payments to people in Scotland, if they choose.
Our armed forces serve the whole United Kingdom, and, as an English MP, I am proud that our United Kingdom Government are supporting our armed forces personnel stationed in Scotland to the tune of £4 million. Does my right hon. Friend agree that it is only the UK Government who can stand up for our armed forces personnel?
I recognise this issue and, obviously, it has been raised many times in this Chamber by my hon. Friend Douglas Ross. The Government are seized of this issue and are looking to try to resolve this inequity whereby people living in remote and rural areas are asked to pay disproportionate delivery charges.