BT adds £1.09 billion to economy of North East and supports 13,700 local jobs, according to independent report

  • BT Group employs 1 in every 4 employees in IT and communications sector in the North East 

  • Around 13,700 total jobs supported through direct and indirect effects  

  • £41 million annual supply chain spend in the North East 

BT Group, its spend with contractors and suppliers, and the spending power of its employees, are responsible for supporting more than 13,700 jobs in the North East, according to an independent report published today.  

The Economic Impact of BT Group in the UK report, by consultancy firm Hatch, calculates that the communications and technology company generated more than £24 billion in gross value added (GVA) to the UK economy during the last financial year, including £1.09 billion in the North East alone*. 

The report estimates that around 13,700 full-time jobs in the North East are supported by BT Group through direct and indirect effects. The firm also spent £41 million with suppliers based in the North East, with the majority spent in the construction industry. 

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. In the North East, the firm directly employs 8,170 people, with a further 1,100 employed as contractors.   

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. The firm has announced plans for a multi-million-pound refurbishment of its BT Gosforth contact centre to modernise it and create a fantastic workplace for hundreds of colleagues. More announcements are expected later this year, providing future-fit workplaces of the future for thousands of colleagues. 

Last week BT unveiled plans to recruit dozens more apprentices and graduates in the North of England for its September 2021 intake. Meanwhile, Openreach, the digital network business, part of BT Group, announced in December that it would create 50 new full time engineering roles across North East and North Yorkshire this year. 

Liz Needleman, BT Group head of public affairs for North of England, said: “I’m immensely proud of the contribution our colleagues make in supporting the North East economy. At an important time for our region, our spending on people, networks and suppliers, provides a vital economic boost. The wider impact of that spending helps to sustain communities and small businesses right across the North East.   

“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, including Middlesbrough, Newcastle and Sunderland, built out Openreach’s full-fibre network 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.”  

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% of customer calls in the UK, at centres from Dundee to Greenock. 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. 

Across the North of England, BT has also been rolling out its Care Home Companion service in a number of contact centres. Colleagues have made 2,000 calls to vulnerable care home resident, giving them a friendly ear and helping to combat loneliness during these difficult times. 

Sarah Glendinning, CBI North East Director, said: “BT is a major employer in the North and has a significant impact on the economy, and the figures in this report tell a compelling story. 

“BT Group’s investment in the North of England not only means a boost to local economies, but also to skills and high quality jobs, including those for apprentices and graduates. BT’s investment in the fastest networks and latest technology is essential not only for our businesses, but also for improving quality of life in all our communities.” 

Tim Fanning, Director at Hatch, said: “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. Its presence across the country generates significant further activity and investment, supporting many thousands of jobs.” 


Summary of results for year 2019/20 – North East 

• 8,170 employees directly working for BT Group, and 1,110 contractors (Full Time Equivalent – FTE) in the North East 

• 13,700 total FTE jobs supported (including indirect and induced effects) in the North East 

• £262 million total income of BT Group employees (including contractors)  

• £41 million spend with suppliers based in the North East 

• £1.09 billion total GVA impact associated with BT Group activities (including indirect and induced effects) in the North East 

• BT Group employed 1 in every 4 in the IT and Communications sector and directly employed 1 in every 70 employees in the private sector across the North East 

• BT Group directly created £1 in every £60 of GVA in the North East 

• As a result of the full economic impact of BT Group, the firm supported £1 in every £50 of GVA in the economy in the North East and 1 in every 50 employees working in the North East economy  



Notes to editors:  

*Gross Value Added (GVA) measures the value of all goods and services produced in an economy. GVA combines wages and operating profits from companies and other organisations. Growing GVA can reflect improvements in workforce skills, productivity, R&D and innovation. The figures for BT show the value added directly through BT's services and additional value generated through BT's suppliers across the nations and regions.  


About BT

BT Group is the UK’s leading telecommunications and network provider and a leading provider of global communications services and solutions, serving customers in 180 countries. Its principal activities in the UK include the provision of fixed voice, mobile, broadband and TV (including Sport) and a range of products and services over converged fixed and mobile networks to consumer, business and public sector customers. For its global customers, BT provides managed services, security and network and IT infrastructure services to support their operations all over the world. BT consists of four customer-facing units: Consumer, Enterprise, Global and its wholly-owned subsidiary, Openreach, which provides access network services to over 650 communications provider customers who sell phone, broadband and Ethernet services to homes and businesses across the UK.

For the year ended 31 March 2020, BT Group’s reported revenue was £22,905m with reported profit before taxation of £2,353m.

British Telecommunications plc is a wholly-owned subsidiary of BT Group plc and encompasses virtually all businesses and assets of the BT Group. BT Group plc is listed on the London Stock Exchange.

For more information, visit www.bt.com/about