Some IT contractors get £100k for doing the same as a £40k permie, it's a tempting route to go down, but;
1. You have to be reasonable at your job (useless contractors just end up with lots of gaps and short-term contracts)
2. You won't have any career progression (catch-22 experience)
3. Unless you're lucky you have to train yourself (you must keep skills up to date)
4. You have to plan more carefully for times without income (pensions, redundancy etc.)
5. You can't afford to piss your employer or colleagues off (bye bye renewal)
Play the game right and you can earn enough to retire in 20 years, play it wrong and you have a tough worrying time with no future.
Contractors are nothing special skill wise, you rarely see low skill contractors, but you do see them, successful contactors are made by their attitude and planning not by the skill the sell, I've only ever been permie, I've turned down £100k contracts as I'd rather have an easy, hassle free life and half the money, besides once you add in pension, sick pay, ability to swing the lead once in a while, being able to build up long term friendships with work mates, being paid every month is very attractive.
So yes contractors have my sympathy, the only thing they have better than me is their pay, and that is being indirectly cut, and don't forget without the contractors the permies would have to take the first cut (no bonus, 3 day weeks, redundancies etc. etc.), they suffer so we don't have to.