BBC provides significant positive economic impact across the UK

New research published today shows the BBC has “wide ranging economic impacts on the UK economy”

Published: 11:30 am, 27 April 2021
Updated: 11:22 am, 27 April 2021
Now - more than ever - we have a role to play in supporting social and economic recovery, promoting talent and serving all audiences up and down all four nations of the UK.
— Clare Sumner

A comprehensive, independent report from KPMG finds the broadcaster provides “a significant economic contribution across each of the UK’s nations and regions”.

The wide-ranging paper, using a well-established approach for assessing economic impact, presents an analysis of the BBC’s economic contribution and looks at local investment, creative innovation, investment in research and development and investment in people, skills and training.

It reveals that every £1 of the BBC’s economic activity generates a total of £2.63 in the economy.

It also highlights how the BBC, through its presence and investment, played a role in cultivating Salford as a “creative and digital cluster” over the last decade.

Employment in the sector in Salford saw growth of 142% between 2010 and 2019, and the number of digital or creative businesses has grown by 70%.

The report also identifies an “emerging creative cluster” in Cardiff, where the BBC has opened Central Square and Roath Lock.

Clare Sumner, the BBC’s Director of Policy, says: “This report demonstrates what a vital asset the BBC is - not only for our creative industries, but for local investment, jobs and training right across the UK - and we have plans in place for so much more over the coming years.

“Now - more than ever - we have a role to play in supporting social and economic recovery, promoting talent and serving all audiences up and down all four nations of the UK.”

Further key findings in the report for 2019/20 include:

  • In total, the BBC is supporting a total of over 53,000 jobs across the UK - with over half outside of London. For every one job directly created by the BBC, a further 1.7 jobs are created in the wider economy
  • The BBC generated an estimated £4.9bn in the UK economy - £1.5bn more than if it was performing in line with the industry average
  • Around half of the BBC’s total economic contribution is generated outside of London - an increase from 32% in 2012. The BBC’s direct economic contribution out of London is far higher than the industry average of 20%
  • Over 60% (£3.1bn) of the BBC’s economic contribution was generated in the UK creative sector

The BBC’s wide-ranging impact on the economy and creative industries can also be seen through investment in content and commissioning, people and skills, and innovation and technology.

The impact of these additional contributions include:

  • Investing over £100m in skills and training over the last four years, including in apprenticeship programmes, and through partnerships with other providers, such as ScreenSkills
  • Funding a total of 335 apprenticeships in 2019/20 with a potential lifetime earnings uplift for those apprentices of £91m
  • Being the highest spending commissioner of new Intellectual Property among UK broadcasters in the UK
  • Supporting creative businesses to better exploit their Intellectual Property, leading to enhanced UK exports and the growth of UK independent producers
  • Investing a total of £70m in dedicated Research and Development activities between 2016/17 and 2019/20. A 2017 study by DotEcon found that every £1 of R&D investment could, on average, generate a further £5-£9 of social and economic benefit for the UK economy

Tony Danker, CBI Director-General, says: “The BBC’s growth ambitions have the power to add real momentum to UK regional economies by kickstarting new clusters of excellence for creative industries.”

KPMG’s comprehensive analysis was conducted before last month’s publication of The BBC Across the UK, a blueprint to dramatically transform power and decision-making over the next six years - with changes to TV and radio commissioning, investment in local reporting, new bases for key TV, radio and news output and a doubling of the commitment on apprentices.

By 2027/28 the BBC will be spending at least an extra £700m cumulatively across the UK - which will generate an estimated additional economic benefit of over £850 million.

Ed Shedd, Chair of Create Central, who are working in partnership with the BBC as part of these plans, says: "This report provides concrete evidence that the BBC's Across the UK plans will offer a great positive economic impact for the creative industries in the West Midlands.

“Create Central is proud to be working closely with the BBC and our regional partners on activities aimed at turbo-charging the growth of the region’s creative content sector."

KPMG’s full report, An Assessment of the Economic Impact of the BBC, can be found here.


Notes to Editors

The BBC commissioned KPMG to produce an independent assessment of its gross economic impact in the UK, comprising two main elements:

  • A quantified assessment of the BBC’s contribution to the UK economy in of Gross Value Added (GVA)
  • A largely qualitative assessment of the role of the BBC in supporting the growth of the creative and digital sector, as well as the wider UK economy


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