No one is under any illusions that the UK economy remains in a parlous state but it seems that PAYE umbrella contractors who specialise in the IT skills market may be well placed to weather the continuing gloom for the next three months at least. That’s according to the latest analysis from Price Waterhouse Coopers (PwC) and the CBI, which finds that, while all forms of capital spending over the next quarter will be cut in the financial sector, IT budgets will remain intact.

The main reason appears to be that IT plays a crucial role in eking out efficiency savings for finance sector businesses. End-users will be scaling down their spend on machinery, vehicles, building and land, the CBI-PwC report reveals, in order to safeguard their IT investment plans.

The biggest IT spenders over the next three months will be building societies, most of which plan to fork out more than they did a year ago on applications and systems in a bid to enhance their client retention strategies.

The PwC-CBI study does contain some other, more ominous data, however. Most financial firms, for example, expect to see a slowdown in growth over the next quarter and do not anticipate any improvement in profitability.

Andrew Gray, the group banking leader, said that further headcount reductions were likely in the longer term, as most banks are very aggressive in their approach to controlling costs.

Even so, specialists in IT contracting are used to seizing opportunities whenever they arise and, for the next quarter at least, they look set to be lucratively busy in financial services.

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