Huawei’s £400m contribution to East of England economy revealed in new report

The Huawei site at Adastral Park Picture: GOOGLEMAPS

The Huawei site at Adastral Park Picture: GOOGLEMAPS - Credit: Archant

An under-fire Chinese telecoms tech giant is continuing to press its case to be involved in the UK’s digital future following a report which estimates its contribution to the country’s economy at £3.3bn — £400m of it in the East of England.

The Huawei site at Adastral Park Picture: GOOGLEMAPS

The Huawei site at Adastral Park Picture: GOOGLEMAPS - Credit: Archant

A study by business analysts Oxford Economics says tech company Huawei supports 51,000 jobs through its economic activity — but the company faces an uphill job persuading politicians to let it back on board after a UK government u-turn over its involvement in the UK’s 5G network.

MORE — BT faces threat of possible strike action in row over jobs and payHaving previously said the company’s involvement didn’t threaten UK cyber security, the government later decided it did and announced measures to have all its 5G kit stripped from networks by 2027.

A previous report commission by Huawei warned the UK faces a £18.2bn hit to the economy and loss of 5G leadership position as a result of its about-turn.

The latest Oxford Economics report says Huawei’s contribution to the UK economy grew by 180% in real terms in the four years from 2015-2019, and that it paid £1.1bn in UK taxes — the equivalent of more than 30,000 teachers’ salaries.

The report also showed economic reach across the UK. While its biggest single contributions were in London (28.9%) and the South East (21.2%), nearly half of its economic impact was in other parts of the UK.

It contributes around £400m to the East of England economy — where it has research facilities in Cambridge and Ipswich, the report found.

Scotland benefited by £149m, Northern Ireland by £46m and the North West by £235m.

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It supports 6,700 jobs in the East of England, according to the study, and had the highest relative impact on the labour market in both London and the East of England, supporting around 0.21% of all jobs in both regions. In 2019, it supported a £391m gross valued added (GVA) contribution to UK gross domestic product (GDP) in the region, or 11.7% of the total.

It also spent more than £1.3bn with suppliers in 2019 alone, and £4.1bn in the past five years.

Oxford Economics@ Pete Collings said: “This report is an objective way to show the full extent of Huawei’s economic impact in the UK. Companies like Huawei are major contributors to the UK directly but their impact is extended through the spending they undertake with other UK firms. This spending, and the further economic activity it generates, sustains jobs across the country, contributing to UK GDP and government tax revenues.”

Huawei vice-president Victor Zhang said: “Huawei stands ready to help Britain build back better. As this report shows, we have connected every part of the UK, helping to level up the country by supporting economic activity throughout the nations and regions.

“But we can do much more, helping to close the digital divide and put Britain back in the fast lane.

“We hope the British government will keep an open mind and consider the economic consequences to a delay on the rollout of high speed networks. There is a better way forward.”