East Anglia: BT’s contribution to regional economy worth £2.8bn, says new report

BT's Adastral Park complex at Martlesham.
Photo: Mike Page

BT's Adastral Park complex at Martlesham. Photo: Mike Page - Credit: Archant

The value of telecoms giant BT to the Suffolk economy has totalled more than £500million over the past year, a new independent report has revealed.

According to the study, produced by Regeneris Consulting and published today, BT’s contribution to the East of England’s economy in terms of Gross Value Added (GVA) totalled £2.8billion ? equivalent to £1 in every £40 of the region’s total GVA.

The group’s annual value to the Suffolk economy was £536m, the county’s relatively large share of the regional total reflecting the presence of BT’s Adastral Park research and development complex at Martlesham Heath, near Ipswich.

In total, the report said the group supports 5,360 jobs in Suffolk, through a combination of direct employment, its spending with contractors and suppliers and the spending of its employees.

BT regional director Dave Hughes said: “BT and its employees make a major contribution to the Suffolk economy. They are a key part of its prosperity and economic well-being. BT is at the centre of every community and our day-to-day work benefits every local authority area right across the UK.

“I’m also well aware that BT people throughout the region really want to contribute in a positive way to the communities in which they live and work. Every day BT employees help millions of people to communicate, do business, be entertained and stay informed.

“But BT’s role in Suffolk and the East of England as a whole is more significant than even these massive figures suggest. In addition to the activities analysed in this comprehensive report, we are creating a high-speed fibre broadband network which will be essential to the future success of local businesses and households. The potential benefits to the region offered by that network are huge by any standards.”

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The report ? entitled “Social Study 2013 – The Economic Impact of BT in the United Kingdom” ? analyses the role of BT and its people in economic, business and community life across the English regions, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

It says that, across the East of England ? Suffolk, Essex, Norfolk, Cambridgeshire, Hertfordshire and Bedfordshire ? BT is responsible for the employment of 10,600 people, made up of 9,460 direct employees and 1,140 contractors, who were paid a total of £438m in the last year. The group also supports a further 25,100 jobs through its spending with suppliers and the spending of its employees.

The report estimates BT’s GVA contribution to the economy UK-wide in the past year at £18.5bn, with the group said to support a total of 231,510 jobs directly and indirectly and to have spent £7.2bn with UK-based supliers.

It adds that BT’s encouragement of volunteering among its workforce contributed £13m-worth of community support nationally, with staff in the East of England contributing 6,680 days’ work out of a national total of 43,600 days.

Stephen Nicol, managing director of Regeneris Consulting, said: “Our analysis confirms the sheer scale and reach of BT’s economic contribution to the UK and its constituent local economies. BT makes a contribution to every town or city across the UK. At the UK level £1 in every £70 of wealth created is attributable to BT: this is one of the single most important contributions to the UK economy by any firm.”