Household Incomes

Oral Answers to Questions — Scotland – in the House of Commons on 19th June 2019.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Paul Masterton Paul Masterton Conservative, East Renfrewshire

What assessment he has made of the effect of recent changes in the personal allowance on levels of household income in Scotland.

Photo of David Mundell David Mundell The Secretary of State for Scotland

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.

Photo of Paul Masterton Paul Masterton Conservative, East Renfrewshire

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?

Photo of David Mundell David Mundell The Secretary of State for Scotland

Thanks to this Government’s increases in the personal allowance, 135,000 Scots no longer have to pay any income tax at all. That is the record of this Conservative Government: cutting tax, as opposed to the SNP Scottish Government who are making Scotland the highest taxed part of the UK.

Photo of Ruth George Ruth George Labour, High Peak

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?

Photo of David Mundell David Mundell The Secretary of State for Scotland

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.

Photo of Rachel Maclean Rachel Maclean Conservative, Redditch

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?

Photo of David Mundell David Mundell The Secretary of State for Scotland

The Ministry of Defence again made a very positive announcement this year confirming extra payments to servicemen and women who have been sent to Scotland for operational requirements to ensure that they are not penalised for serving in Scotland by the SNP’s high-tax policies.

Photo of Jamie Stone Jamie Stone Liberal Democrat Spokesperson (Scotland), Liberal Democrat Spokesperson (Armed Forces)

I note what the Secretary of State says about taxation. However, people living in remote parts of the UK, such as my constituency, are paying crippling delivery charges for goods. Would we not help the income of those families by tackling this serious problem?

Photo of David Mundell David Mundell The Secretary of State for Scotland

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.

Photo of Stewart McDonald Stewart McDonald Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Defence)

Although the lowest-paid members of the armed forces in Scotland pay less tax than their counterparts in England, can the Secretary of State confirm that the mitigation payments made by the United Kingdom Government to the highest earners in Scotland are subject to tax?

Photo of David Mundell David Mundell The Secretary of State for Scotland

Every payment made is subject to the tax system, as is self-evident, but what these payments do is mitigate the reduced payments that our armed forces personnel are receiving due to the SNP’s high-tax approach.