Telecoms provider BT claims to have generated £1 billion for the Scottish economy in the past year, according to the findings of an independent report published today.
The world’s oldest communications company said the sum comprises the gross value it contributed, combining the “direct, indirect and induced” impact of its activities and spending. These include employment, spend with Scottish suppliers and investment in infrastructure.
Highlighted in the report, by Regeneris Consulting, is BT’s investment of more than £3bn in the roll-out of fibre broadband – however, the company has attracted criticism over its Openreach initiative, which was established to provide all operators fair and equal access to the BT network and its exchanges.
The company has been criticised by consumers and several internet providers, including Sky and TalkTalk, for not meeting its fibre broadband roll-out commitments. There have been calls for BT to be separated from the Openreach project, with Ofcom consulting on the matter.
BT also said it has been working with local communities through two Digital Scotland partnerships, the £410m Digital Scotland Superfast Broadband rollout, and a £146m project in the Highlands and Islands.
The firm said it will “continue to work with Scottish and UK governments to increase fibre coverage to Scotland’s homes and businesses”.
In the report, it was stated that Scotland’s gross value added (GVA) contribution totalled £1.01bn, equal to £1 in every £115 of the UK’s total GVA. The communications giant said the figure is up by £68 million since figures were last published two years ago.
It added that the sum – which is the third highest in the UK after London with £1.51bn and the east of England at £1.24bn – comprised £655m of direct GVA, £226m “induced” and £132m indirect.
The highest GVA generation out of all Scotland’s local authorities was Glasgow city at £227m, followed by Edinburgh at £181m.
Looking at employment, BT claimed its full impact in Scotland in the year was greater than that of the insurance sector. The report found that it supports nearly 12,400 jobs north of the Border through direct employment, its spending with contractors and suppliers and the spending of employees.
BT also claims to employ one in every eight employees working in the Scottish IT and communications sectors, and said about £176m was spent with Scottish suppliers.
Brendan Dick, BT Scotland director, said: “We are one of Scotland’s largest private sector employers and investors – our investment in fibre broadband across the country amounts to hundreds of millions of pounds – and the services that we provide are a vital part of every community.
“It’s fantastic news that we are now a £1bn business in Scotland and that our impact has continued to grow in the last couple of years, reflecting our ongoing commitment to Scotland and its digital capabilities.”