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Report: BT adds £24bn to UK economy

February 9, 2021

By Colin Mann

Multiplay telco BT Group is responsible for generating £1 (€1.14) in every £75 produced in the UK economy, according to an independent report, The Economic Impact of BT Group in the UK, by consultancy firm Hatch, which calculates that BT generated more than £24 billion in gross value added (GVA) during the last financial year.

The report estimates that around 300,000 full-time jobs in the UK are supported through BT’s direct employment, its spending with contractors and suppliers, and the spending of its employees. The Group also spent nearly £10.1 billion with suppliers based around the UK, including helping to maintain around 35,000 vehicles, with an ambition to transition up to 28,000 to electric vehicles by 2030.

Spending by people in receipt of a BT pension also supported an estimated 26,600 jobs and contributed nearly £2 billion across the UK. BT Group has broadband and mobile networks spanning from the Scilly Isles to Shetland, built and maintained by some of the 82,800 direct employees it has in the UK.  This is equivalent to one in every 12 employees working in the IT and communications sectors.

The company is currently modernising its business, including investing in the UK’s largest workplace consolidation and modernisation programme, as it moves from 300 locations to around 30 as part of its Better Workplace programme. It plans to move into a brand-new HQ in London later in 2021 and has also announced plans to open new or refurbish existing locations. New strategic hub locations will open in Bristol, Birmingham and Manchester, providing future-fit workplaces of the future for thousands of colleagues.

“I’m immensely proud of the contribution our colleagues make in supporting the UK economy,” declared Jane Wood, BT Group director of nations and regions. “At an important time for our country, our spending on people, networks and suppliers, provides a vital economic boost for the UK. The wider impact of that spending helps to sustain communities and small businesses right across the UK.”

“In the past year, having good connectivity has become more important than ever as we’ve all had to work, learn, and spend more leisure time online. Despite these challenges, our dedicated and determined colleagues have ensured EE’s 5G network has been extended to cover 125 towns and cities, built out Openreach’s full-fibre networks to reach 4.1 million premises and EE’s 4G network now reaches 85 per cent of the UK. I know these significant investments will help to underpin the country’s economic recovery post-Covid.”

According to the telco, employees from across BT Group, which includes Openreach, EE and Plusnet, have played a key role in keeping the country connected during the pandemic. The company has provided critical support to the NHS, SMEs via its Small Business Support Scheme and school children by providing unlimited broadband and mobile data, free and mobile data, free BT Wi-Fi vouchers and zero rating access to two of the most popular online education sites.

BT’s Consumer contact centres now handle 100 per cent of customer calls in the UK, at centres from Dundee to Plymouth. Since customer service for BT, EE and Plusnet customers was brought back to the UK and Ireland last year, more than 34 million calls have been handled.

“Our analysis underlines how vast BT Group’s contribution is to the UK economy as a whole as well as to individual communities in the nations and regions,” commented Tim Fanning, Director at Hatch. “Its presence across the country generates significant further activity and investment, supporting many thousands of jobs.”

Summary of results for year 2019/20:

  • 82,800 employees directly working for BT Group in the UK, and 10,600 contractors (Full Time Equivalent – FTE)
  • 300,000 total FTE jobs supported (including indirect and induced effects)
  • £3.4 billion total income of BT Group employees (including contractors)
  • £10.1 billion spend with suppliers based in the UK
  • £24 billion total GVA impact associated with BT Group activities (including indirect and induced effects)
  • BT Group directly employed 1 in every 230 employees in the private sector across the UK, and one in every 12 in the IT and Communications sector
  • BT Group directly created £1 in every £165 of GVA in the UK
  • As a result of the full economic impact of BT Group, the firm supported £1 in every £75 of GVA in the UK economy and one in every 90 employees working in the UK economy

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