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HP is to cut contractor pay rates from April 7 by 10 per cent as a "first step" to bringing its remuneration packages in line with the rest of the industry.

"Contractor pay rates [at HP] are significantly above current industry rates and do not reflect the current 'over-supply' of IT Contractors in the market," the company said in a letter to contractors explaining the decision.

A month ago, BT imposed a similarly non-negotiable 12.5 per cent pay cut on contractors employed by its BT Computing Partners division. The pay cut, which comes into force from the start of the new tax year next month, is the latest in a series of pay cuts to fall on BT contractors since October 2001, that have left workers with a third less take home pay.

BT often leads the trend in what contractors can expect to be paid by major IT employers in the UK. ®

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