BT ‘now worth £588m a year to Suffolk’s economy’, says new report

BT's Adastral Park site at Martlesham Heath, near Ipswich.

BT's Adastral Park site at Martlesham Heath, near Ipswich.

BT’s operations in Suffolk have contributed nearly £600m to the county’s economy in the past year, according to an indepdent study.

The report says that BT supports 5,590 jobs in Suffolk – through direct employment, spending with contractors and suppliers and the spending of its employees – out of of a total of around 26,000 across the wider East of England region.

And within the New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) area, covering Suffolk and Norfolk, one in every four employees working in the IT and communications sector is directly employed by the BT group, including those working for mobile network EE which it acquired in January.

The report, compiled by Regeneris Consulting, adds that nearly 10,300 people are directly employed by BT and its EE business in the East of England, equivalent to one in 10 employees working in the region’s IT and communications sector.

The overall economic impact of BT and EE activities in the region – expressed as “Gross Value Added” (GVA), which measures the value of all goods and services produced in an economy – totalled £2.4bn, equivalent to £1 in every £60 of the region’s total GVA, of which £588m was in Suffolk.

Around £660m was spent with East of England suppliers, including £77m in Suffolk, says the report, which assesses the combined contribution of BT and EE across the English regions, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland in the 2015-16 financial year.

Tim Whitley, BT’s regional director for the East of England and managing director at its Adastral Park research campus near Ipswich, said: “Few organisations have a more positive and direct impact on the local economy and the Suffolk communities than BT.

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“The acquisition of EE means we can invest even further, enabling people living and working in the East of England to get access to the best communications – fixed line, mobile and broadband services – now and in the future. As well as providing the means for families, homeworkers, companies and other organisations to communicate and do business in new and exciting ways, BT is helping to support other firms and suppliers in the region with the company’s procurement and overall expenditure and the spending of its employees.”

Richard Tunnicliffe, the CBI’s East of England director, said: “This latest research demonstrates the extent to which BT plays a key role in our local communities.

“There is not a businessperson or family in this region who – directly or indirectly – is not affected by BT’s activities as a supplier of essential services, such as superfast broadband, major employer, investor or purchaser.”