BT has provided a £42million boost to the Northumberland 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 12,600 jobs in the North East - of which 685 are in Northumberland - through direct employment, spending with contractors and suppliers and the spending of employees.
The report has been welcomed by the Confederation of British Industry (CBI), whose regional director for the North East, Sarah Glendinning, 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."
More than 8,500 people are directly employed by BT and its EE business in the North East – equivalent to one in three 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 civil engineering sector. Around £70million was spent with North East suppliers – including £16million in Northumberland.
The overall economic impact of BT and EE activities is expressed as a gross value added (GVA) contribution. For the North East this combined GVA totalled £1.16 billion – equivalent to £1 in every £40 of the region's total GVA – of which £42 million was in Northumberland.
Farooq Hakim, BT's regional director for the North East, 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 Northumberland 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 county with the company’s procurement and overall expenditure and the spending of its employees."
The full report is available at www.bt.com/reports