BT rings up £84 million boost for Worcestershire and Herefordshire economy

BT has given a massive £84 million boost to the Herefordshire and Worcestershire economy in the past year, according to an independent study published today.

The report, by Regeneris Consulting, highlights the huge local impact of BT’s activities including its takeover of EE, which has reinforced the communications company’s position as one of the region’s leading employers.

It revealed BT supported around 935 jobs in Herefordshire and Worcestershire – through direct employment, spending with contractors and suppliers and the spending of employees.

Richard Butler, CBI’s West Midlands director, said: “This latest research demonstrates the extent to which BT plays a key role in our local communities. There is not a businessperson or family in this region who – directly or indirectly – is not affected by BT’s activities as a supplier of essential services, such as superfast broadband, major employer, investor or purchaser.

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

Around £530 million was spent with West Midlands suppliers – including £13 million in Herefordshire and Worcestershire.

The overall economic impact of BT and EE activities is expressed as a “Gross Value Added” (GVA)* contribution. For the West Midlands this combined GVA totalled £1.28 billion – equivalent to £1 in every £95 of the region’s total GVA – of which £84 million was in Herefordshire and Worcestershire.

In addition, £1 in every £12 of GVA in the IT and communication sector in the Worcestershire area was generated directly by BT and EE.

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 up and down the country.”

Colin Bannon, BT’s regional director for the West Midlands, said: “Few organisations have a more positive and direct impact on the local economy and the region’s communities than BT.

“The acquisition of EE means we can invest even further, enabling people living and working in the West Midlands 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.”

The company employs staff in every part of the region. In total, more than 1,200 employees either live or work in Herefordshire and Worcestershire.

The new recruits are also working on rolling out fibre broadband to more households and businesses beyond the more than two million premises in the region which already have access to the high-speed technology. This includes around 323,000 across Herefordshire and Worcestershire.

Earlier this year, BT announced Openreach and EE would be investing around £6 billion more over the next three years in the first phase of a plan to extend superfast broadband and 4G coverage beyond 95 per cent of the country by 2020.

The company is also aiming to make ultrafast broadband available to up to 12 million UK homes and businesses by the end of 2020 using G.fast and fibre to the premises (FTTP) technologies.

The full report is available on the BT website.