BT rings up £470 million boost for Northern Ireland economy

– Takeover of EE reinforces BT’s position as a leading local employer responsible for around 5,440 jobs across the region

– BT spends £109 million a year with local suppliers

BT has given a massive £470 million boost to the Northern Ireland economy in the past year, according to an independent study published today.

The Economic Impact of BT and EE in the UK’ report by Regeneris Consulting outlines the combined economic contribution of the two companies across Northern Ireland, the English regions, Scotland, and Wales in the financial year 2015-16 and reinforced the communications company’s position as one of the region’s leading employers.

It revealed BT supported around 5,440 jobs in Northern Ireland through direct employment, spending with contractors and suppliers and the spending of employees.

The report has been welcomed by the Confederation of British Industry (CBI).

Angela McGowan, Regional Director, CBI said: “This latest research demonstrates the extent to which BT plays a key role in our local communities. There is not a business or household in Northern Ireland who – directly or indirectly – is not affected by BT’s investment in this region.  As well as being a supplier of essential services such as superfast broadband, the company is also a major employer across Northern Ireland and a large purchaser for local supply chains.  BT’s success is based on smart investments in both technology and people.

“In a competitive world, in which trade and relationships increasingly transcend regional and national boundaries, rapid and effective communications are ever more vital.”

In employment terms, BT and EE’s impact in the 2015-16 financial year was larger than the region’s research and development sector. Nearly 3,170 people are directly employed by BT and its EE business with a total income of around £98 million. This is equivalent to one in 5 employees working in the region’s IT and communications sector and 1 in 120 employees working in the private sector. The company employs staff across the region, with key local centres in Belfast, Derry, Fermanagh, Craigavon, and Newtownabbey.

BT also spent around £109 million with Northern Ireland suppliers, and provides work for a further 2,270 people through spending with businesses that supply equipment and services, as well as through the spending of its staff.

The overall economic impact of BT and EE activities is expressed as a “Gross Value Added” (GVA)* contribution. For Northern Ireland this combined GVA totalled £470 million – equivalent to £1 in every £80 of the region’s total GVA.

Tim Fanning, associate director of Regeneris Consulting, said: “Our latest analysis has shown that, together, BT and EE contributed around £1 in every £70 of economic output in the UK in 2015/16. This is clearly a very substantial combined economic footprint. Moreover, this contribution is spread throughout communities across the region.”

Colm O’Neill, Managing Director, Major Business & Public Sector, BT said: “Few commercial organisations have a more positive and direct impact on the local economy and communities than BT.

“The acquisition of EE means we can invest even further, enabling people living and working in Northern Ireland to get access to the best communications – fixed line, mobile and broadband services – now and in the future.

“As well as providing the means for families, homeworkers, companies and other organisations to communicate and do business in new and exciting ways, BT is helping to support other firms and suppliers in the region with the company’s procurement and overall expenditure and the spending of its employees.”

BT’s investment of more than £3 billion in fibre broadband across the UK includes the company working in partnership with the Government, local authorities and other bodies to help make the technology even more widely available across the region, especially in rural areas.

In Northern Ireland, BT’s investment in its network infrastructure, which is open to all providers on an equal basis, has been key to connecting Northern Ireland internally and with the rest of the world. BT will continue to invest in delivering improved broadband speeds, expanding the reach of fibre broadband deeper into rural areas, through direct investments and in partnership with the NI Government. BT is currently deploying Fibre to the Premise, one of our ultrafast technologies, in a number of rural and urban areas as well as trialling extended reach VDSL in more rural locations.

UK-wide, BT and EE’s total GVA contribution in 2015/16 is assessed at £23.1 billion. The company supports 259,000 jobs directly and indirectly. BT and EE’s full economic impact is equivalent to £1 in every £70 of GVA in the UK economy and one in every 95 UK employees.

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