BT gives Scottish economy a £1.2 billion boost - independent study

Telecoms and broadband giant BT Group supports some 12,400 jobs in Scotland and gave the economy a £1.2 billion boost last year, a new study suggests.

BT Group, its spend with contractors and suppliers, and the spending power of its employees, are responsible for supporting around 12,400 jobs north of the Border, the research indicates. Picture: Jeff Holmes
BT Group, its spend with contractors and suppliers, and the spending power of its employees, are responsible for supporting around 12,400 jobs north of the Border, the research indicates. Picture: Jeff Holmes

The independent report, by consultancy firm Hatch, calculates that the communications and technology heavyweight generated more than £24bn in gross value added (GVA) to the UK economy during the last financial year, including £1.2bn in Scotland.

BT Group, its spend with contractors and suppliers, and the spending power of its employees, are responsible for supporting around 12,400 jobs north of the Border, the research indicates.

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The firm also spent £167 million with suppliers based in Scotland, including those in the retail, construction and telecommunications industries.

BT has broadband and mobile networks spanning from the Scilly Isles to Shetland, built and maintained by some of the 82,800 direct employees it has in the UK. In Scotland, the company directly employs 7,240 people, with a further 205 employed as contractors.

Mark Dames, BT Group head of external affairs Scotland, said: “I’m immensely proud of the contribution our colleagues make in supporting the Scottish economy.

“At an important time for our country, our spending on people, networks and suppliers provides a vital economic boost. The wider impact of that spending helps to sustain communities and small businesses right across Scotland. “In the past year, having good connectivity has become more important than ever as we’ve all had to work, learn and spend more leisure time online.

“Despite these challenges, our dedicated and determined colleagues have ensured EE’s 5G network has been extended to cover 125 UK towns and cities, including Stirling, Aberdeen and North Lanarkshire, built out Openreach’s full-fibre network to reach 4.1 million UK premises and EE’s 4G network now reaches 85 per cent of the UK.

“I know these significant investments will help to underpin the country’s economic recovery post-Covid.”

Last week, the group unveiled plans to recruit dozens more apprentices and graduates in Scotland for its September 2021 intake. Meanwhile, Openreach, the digital network business which forms part of the wider group, announced in December that it would create 275 full-time engineering roles across Scotland this year.

Tim Fanning, director at Hatch, said: “Our analysis underlines how vast BT Group’s contribution is to the UK economy as a whole as well as to individual communities in the nations and regions. Its presence across the country generates significant further activity and investment, supporting many thousands of jobs.”

Tracy Black, CBI Scotland director, added: “With the Covid-19 pandemic continuing to have an unparalleled impact on our economy, and society, it’s great to see companies like BT continue to invest so significantly in Scotland and its communities. The value and impact of that investment is felt in high quality local jobs, economic growth and cross supply chains the length and breadth of the country.

“As we look to build a high tech, high skilled and more sustainable economy for the future, companies like BT will be at the heart of delivering the technology and connectivity needed to transform that vision into reality.”

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