BT’s £41m boost for Cumbria economy

BT’s £41m boost for Cumbria economy
Mike Blackburn (Photo VisMedia)

Mike Blackburn (Photo VisMedia)

BT generated a massive £41 million for the Cumbria economy in the past year, according to an independent report published today.

The report, by Regeneris Consulting, also shows that the communications company supports more than 22,300 jobs in the North West – of which nearly 500 are in Cumbria – through direct employment, its spending with contractors and suppliers and the spending of employees.

In addition, one in every £5 GVA  in the IT and communications sector in Cumbria is generated directly by BT.

In employment terms, BT’s impact in 2014-15 was larger than the region’s automotive manufacturing sector. Around £510 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 North West the BT GVA totalled £1.64 billion – equivalent to £1 in every £85 of the region’s total GVA – of which £41 million was in Cumbria.

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

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

Mike Blackburn, BT’s regional director for the North West, said: “There are few organisations in the North West that have a larger impact on the day-to-day life and future prospects of the region than BT.

“We are one of the region’s largest private sector employers and investors – our investment in fibre broadband in the North 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 Cumbria 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.”

Layout 1‘Social Study 2015 – The Economic Impact of BT in the United Kingdom’ analyses the key role BT people 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 North West:

  • Is responsible for the employment of 9,450 people – 7,500 direct employees and 1,950 contractors – of which just less than 400 are in Cumbria – with a total employment income of £297 million;
  • Provides work for a further 12,860 people through BT’s spending with businesses that supply its equipment and services, and the spending of employees;
  • Committed more than £1.4m 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 North West, BT is the major private sector partner in broadband partnerships in Cumbria, Lancashire, Greater Manchester, Merseyside and Cheshire. Through these partnerships and the company’s commercial roll-out, BT has already made fibre broadband available to more 2.8 million North 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 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 North West contributed more than 4,000 volunteering days to worthy causes, amounting to in-kind support of more than £1.3 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 £2.4m for charities across the North West.

Mike Blackburn added: “It’s evident BT people throughout Cumbria and the North 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: