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London’s relationship with Europe

Gordon Douglass, Supervisory Economist, GLA Economics

Since the 23 June referendum vote for ‘Brexit’ there’s been a high demand for data and statistics looking at London’s relationship with Europe and also how London sits in the UK as a whole. Fortunately lots of data sources are available to the GLA Intelligence Unit and we have sieved these to provide some relevant facts and figures on these relationships in our recently published Current Issues Note 51: London and Europe – Facts and figures.

It should be noted that we do not take a position on the referendum result, or take a view on the short and long-run effects, either positive or negative if any, of this vote on London’s economy. Rather the aim of the publication is to provide some, but by no means all, relevant data that may help to enlighten debate and decision making. From this some interesting statistics jump out which include:

  • In 2014 if London had been an independent nation then in euro terms it would have been the 7th biggest economy in the European Union (EU), behind the Netherlands but ahead of Sweden.
  • In terms of service exports the United States was estimated to be by far the largest single export market for the capital, ahead of Germany, France, the Netherlands, and Switzerland. However, combined European countries do make up a significant proportion of London’s service export destinations. While for goods exports the US was again the top destination for London exports, followed by Switzerland, Hong Kong and Germany.
  • Office for National Statistics (ONS) data indicates that 10.8 per cent of the people living in London in 2015 were born in the rest of the EU. It also indicates that 11.8 per cent of the people living in London in 2015 were non-UK EU nationals.
  • In 2014 out of 1,771,200 estimated couple families in London 102,400 contained one UK national and one EU national.

These are just a few of the headlines in a publication packed with statistics looking at London’s output, labour force, trade, population, foreign direct investment, tourists, students and more.

Looking at the labour force as shown by the diagram below non-UK European Economic Area (EEA) born workers held around 12.5 per cent of London’s jobs in 2015, a higher proportion than in the UK as a whole. For workers born outside the EEA in London the figure stood at 26.2 per cent.

Jobs in London and the UK by country of birth

Source: Annual Population Survey, 2015

Data is also available on jobs by industry as shown by the diagram below. As can be seen in London non-UK EEA born workers were particularly important in: Accommodation and food service activities (representing 32 per cent of London’s jobs in this sector); Construction (25 per cent); Administration and support service activities (20 per cent); Wholesale and motor trades (15 per cent); and Financial and insurance activities (12 per cent).

Jobs by industry in London by country of birth

Source: Annual Population Survey, 2015

The publication covers other topics as well and also includes an appendix looking at the different sectors of London’s economy and their relationship with the EU. You can read more on London’s relationship with Europe in Current Issues Note 51: London and Europe – Facts and figures.

GLA Economics will also be undertaking further analysis on how the outcome from the referendum vote translates into any impact on London’s economy via our monthly London’s Economy Today (LET) publication and our biannual economic commentary and forecast for London in London’s Economic Outlook (LEO) amongst other publications.

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