Freelance IT workers in the UK have expressed concern about claims that the government plans to force contractors onto the payroll of their clients after just one month of service.

It was reported over the weekend that Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne would crack down on personal service firms during his spending review statement to MPs

Lobby group IPSE – which represents Blighty freelance and self-employed folk – told The Register that it had been unaware of a one-month rule that is apparently being considered by Whitehall.

If such a measure is brought in, then it’s been claimed that any consultant (IT or otherwise) would be required to shift over to a company’s payroll if they are doing contract work for that business for longer than one month.

IPSE spokesman James Gribben said, when asked if the group had been blindsided, that the plan was “quite alarming” and added that it was “very unhelpful [for such measures] to be sprung on us ahead of the Autumn statement.”

The group’s boss Chris Bryce said in a follow-up statement that “limiting contracts to one month has never been on the table up to this point. It’s one thing to fly a kite, but this measure would have such catastrophic impact on business that it’s quite clear it shouldn’t be considered at all.”

He added: “The flexible labour market is at stake here. That same flexible labour market has helped us keep unemployment at record lows. The tax system should reflect how people in the UK work, not how HMRC wants them to work. This kind of measure could have a dramatic and devastating impact.”