BT’s £432 million pound boost for the Northern Irish economy

November 12th 2015

Communications company responsible for over 5,000 jobs across Northern Ireland. BT spends £81 million a year with local suppliers

BT generated a massive £432 million for the Northern Ireland economy in the past year, a £20 million increase on just two years ago, according to an independent report published today.

The report, by Regeneris Consulting, also shows that the communications company supports over 5,000 jobs in NI through direct employment, its spending with contractors and suppliers and the spending of employees. Around £81 million was spent with regional suppliers, an increase of £16 million in 2013.
In employment terms, BT’s impact in the 2014-15 financial year was larger than the nation’s research and development sector.

The overall beneficial financial impact of BT activities is expressed as a “Gross Value Added” (GVA)* contribution. For Northern Ireland the BT GVA totalled £432 million – equivalent to £1 in every £75 of the region’s total GVA.
Tim Fanning, associate director at Regeneris Consulting, said: “Our analysis confirms the sheer scale and reach of BT’s ongoing economic contribution to Northern Ireland 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.”

Alex Crossan, manager director, Networks, BT Northern Ireland, said: “There are few organisations in Northern Ireland 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 NI alone amounts to 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 also highlights that BT as enabled more than three-quarters - 77 per cent - of its employees to work flexibly.

In Northern Ireland the report illustrates that BT:

  • Is responsible for the employment of 3,110 people – 2,440 direct employees and 667 contractors – with a total employment income of £99 million
  • Provides work for a further 1,970 people through BT’s spending with businesses that supply its equipment and services, and the spending of employees;
  • Committed more than £1.7m to community, charity and voluntary programmes, spread around many regional communities in 2014/15;

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 Northern Ireland, BT is the major private sector partner in broadband partnerships with the Northern Ireland government. Through these partnerships and the company’s commercial roll-out, BT has already made fibre broadband available to more than 93% of NI homes and businesses – and this percentage is continuing to grow.

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 Northern Ireland contributed more than 5,100 volunteering days to worthy causes, amounting to in-kind support of more than £1.5 million. Across the UK, the figure is 50,500 days, worth more than £15 million.

Alex Crossan added: “Every day at BT, our employees help millions of people to communicate, do business, be entertained and stay informed. It’s evident that our people throughout Northern Ireland really want to make a positive contribution to the communities in which they live and work. So much so, that this year BT was awarded the title of Northern Ireland’s most responsible business at the annual Business in the Community Responsible Business Awards.”
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: or here