BT’s boost to Bristol economy grows to £137 million

Communications company responsible for more than 1,500 jobs across the county; BT spends £135 million a year with South West suppliers

BT generated a massive £137 million for the Bristol economy in the past year according to an independent report published today.

The report, by Regeneris Consulting, also shows that the communications company supports about 10,500 jobs in the South West, including 1,550 jobs in Bristol, through direct employment, its spending with contractors and suppliers and the spending of employees.

In employment terms, BT’s impact on the South West in the 2014-15 financial year was larger than the region’s entire research and development sector. Around £135 million was spent with regional suppliers.

The overall beneficial financial impact of BT activities is expressed as a “Gross Value Added” (GVA)* contribution. For the South West region, the BT GVA totalled £879 million – equivalent to £1 in every £130 of the region’s total GVA – of which £137 million was in Bristol. In the 2012-13 financial year, BT’s GVA for the region was recorded as £798 million.

Tim Fanning, associate director at Regeneris Consulting, said: “Our analysis confirms the sheer scale and reach of BT’s ongoing economic contribution to the South West and the UK as a whole.

“BT makes a contribution to every community across the UK. At the UK level, £1 in £80 of wealth created is attributable to BT – this is one of the single largest contributions to the UK economy by any firm.”

Jon Reynolds, BT’s regional director for the South West, said: “There are few organisations in Bristol and in the South west as a whole that have a larger impact on day-to-day life and future prospects than BT.

“We are one of the region’s largest private sector employers and investors – our investment in fibre broadband in the South West alone amounts to hundreds of millions of pounds - and the services that we provide are a vital part of every community.

“The facts and figures shown in this report highlight the full extent of BT’s contribution to the local economy as we go about the daily business of keeping people connected and introducing new technologies, which are creating fresh opportunities and transforming lives.

“Aside from the company’s activities, the report also draws attention to the positive ways BT people are contributing to the communities where they live and work, whether they are a volunteer for a worthy cause or a local shopper.”

Social Study 2015 – The Economic Impact of BT in the United Kingdom’ analyses the key role BT and its employees play in economic, business and community life across the English regions, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

It highlights the positive contributions made by BT through the salaries and wages of employees and contractors, and the beneficial impact of its procurement and overall expenditure around the UK.

The report highlights that BT in the South West:

  • Is responsible for the employment of 5,797 people – 5,540 direct employees, and 257 contractors – with a total employment income of £200 million. The total number of BT employees and contractors working in Bristol is 945;
  • Provides work for a further 4,660 people through BT’s spending with businesses that supply its equipment and services, and the spending of employees;
  • Committed more than £1.1m to community, charity and voluntary programmes, spread around many regional communities in 2014-15;
  • Has enabled more than three-quarters - 77 per cent - of its employees to work flexibly.

BT is investing more than £3 billion in the roll-out of fibre broadband in the UK through its own commercial programme and by working with the Government and local authorities in broadband partnerships to extend next generation broadband even more widely – especially to more rural and remote communities.

In the South West, BT is the major private sector partner in broadband partnerships in Cornwall, Devon, Somerset, Dorset, Gloucestershire and Wiltshire. Through these partnerships and the company’s commercial roll-out, BT has already made fibre broadband available to more than two million South West homes and businesses – and this number is continuing to grow rapidly.

The report also highlights how BT is consistently one of the country’s leading investors in innovation with spending on research and development in the 2014-15 financial year reaching £502 million. Among the latest developments, the company has started trials of ultrafast G.fast broadband, which is already delivering download speeds up to 330 megabits per second (Mbps).

This new technology will be rolled out to 10 million UK homes and businesses by the end of 2020 and the majority of premises within a decade.

Volunteering is also a core element of BT’s strategy. Last year, BT people in the South West contributed 3,225 volunteering days to worthy causes, amounting to in-kind support of nearly £1 million. Across the UK, the figure is 50,500 days, worth more than £15 million.

In addition, MyDonate – BT’s commission-free online fund-raising service – has helped to raise more than £2.1m for charities across the South West.

Jon Reynolds added: “It’s evident BT people throughout the South West really want to make a positive contribution 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.”

UK-wide, BT’s total GVA contribution is assessed at £18 billion. The company supports 217,000 jobs directly and indirectly and last year spent £6.5 billion with UK-based suppliers. As a result of the full economic impact of BT, the firm supports £1 in every £80 of GVA in the UK economy and one in every 110 UK employees.

The full report is available at: www.bt.com/reports