Up to 20,000 workers in the North Sea oil and gas industry are paid using a tax loophole which is now being shut down, it has been claimed.
Chancellor George Osborne confirmed in the Budget that the government was moving to tighten up rules on offshore employment intermediaries.
The move will claw back £100million a year for the Exchequer from firms which pay staff through other businesses they set up abroad to bypass UK tax rules and save money.
One union leader said up to 20,000 workers in the oil and gas industry alone are paid through offshore intermediaries. Employees will not be affected by the new rules, but it means hundreds of north-east firms could soon be facing far higher tax bills.
Frank Doran, Labour MP for Aberdeen North, said: “I think this was nothing more than a tax evasion which has been used by increasing numbers of employers, particularly in shipping and in the North Sea.”