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More than 15,000 people have backed a campaign to stop the changes to contractor pay rules within the private sector.

The petition, branding the move as ‘anti-business’ and demanding its repeal, is now eligible for a government response due to surpassing 10,000 signatures.

It comes ahead of the government publishing the Draft Finance Bill 2020 this week, which is expected to outline the proposals in greater detail.

The Treasury has estimated IR35 off-payroll rules will bring in an additional £2.9billion in taxes by 2024, following similar measures being brought into the public sector in 2017.

Brian Rudkin, head of employer services at accountancy firm Johnston Carmichael, said the petition comes at a ‘late stage’, but the legislation will affect thousands of North Sea contractors.

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He said: “I’m actively working with a number of organisations in the north-east at the moment and it’s evident from those discussions that this is going to affect the whole sector and the entire region’s economy.

“We’re waiting on draft legislation to come out and until then we are a little in the dark on the full impact it will have on the sector.

“I think in general terms the industry has probably been quite slow as a whole to make changes for this new legislation coming in, but I have seen in recent months there has been more traction from the sector in the north-east.”

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