Business leaders say they are ring-fencing IT budgets from cuts affecting other parts of their business.

A survey of 2,000 directors and business owners at companies employing over 100 staff showed that 89 percent of respondents would safeguard IT budgets from cuts - seven percent more than those who said they would keep board-level pay untouched.

When asked what budgets they would be reining in, company peripherals such as Christmas and summer parties were most in danger (83 percent). Cutting investment in the supply chain was another priority for businesses looking to make cost savings (63 percent).

Tony Grace, chief operating officer at Virgin Media Business, which did the survey, said, “It’s encouraging that businesses are appreciating the value delivered by their IT teams. A lot of the time, a good IT team is one you don’t notice. It's easy to forget how important they are until it all goes wrong."

Whilst the survey seems to show that the IT budget is protected, there is some debate as to what the IT budget actually is. PwC estimates that somewhere between 15 percent and 30 percent of IT spending now occurs outside the standard consolidated budget of the IT department.

Sometimes this spending is known to IT staff and sometimes it's not, though IT is not usually consulted, said PwC. Cloud services buying in particular is a major factor in spending outside the processes and procurement practices of IT.