TELECOMS firm BT gave a £106m boost to the Portsmouth economy last year, according to the results of an independent study.
The report, by Regeneris Consulting, highlighted the 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 17,500 jobs in the south east – of which around 1,160 are in Portsmouth – through direct employment, spending with contractors and suppliers and the spending of employees.
About £1 in every £11 of GVA in the IT and communications sector in the Solent LEP area was generated directly by BT and EE.
The report has been welcomed by the Confederation of British Industry (CBI).
Malcolm Hyde, CBI’s director for Hampshire, said: ‘This latest research demonstrates the extent to which BT plays a key role in our community.
‘There is not a businessperson or family in this area 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 transcend regional and national boundaries, rapid and effective communications are ever more vital.’
Around 10,500 people are employed by BT and its EE business in the south east – equivalent to one in 20 employees working in the region’s IT and communications sector. In employment terms, BT and EE’s impact in the 2015-16 financial year was larger than the region’s insurance sector.
Around £2.59bn was spent with south east suppliers – of which £45m was spent in Hampshire.
Dave Axam, BT’s regional director, said: ‘Few organisations have a more positive and direct impact on the local economy and the south east’s communities than BT.
‘The acquisition of EE means we can invest even further, enabling people living and working in the south east to get access to the best communications.’