Continental Capital – London’s Links with Europe

This paper gives a snapshot of how intricately London and the EU are intertwined, in terms of population, workforce, academia, trade and travel.

When Londoners went to the polls in June 1975 to vote on whether to remain part of Europe, their city was very different. London’s population was 7.5 million, had been falling since World War II, and continued to decline for another 20 years.

Fast forward 40 years and London has changed dramatically. Its population, at 8.6 million, is the highest it has ever been.

One in three Londoners was born overseas, and nearly 10 per cent of the population are from other EU countries. A UK exit from the European Union would have a dramatic impact on the city.

This report explores where London’s 850,000 European-born citizens live, where they come from, and where they work and study.

Key findings

  • Around 850,000 Londoners were born in other EU countries, representing one-third of the UK’s EU population.
  • Workers from the EU are concentrated in specific sectors:  their share of construction, accommodation and food services jobs is much higher in London than it is across the UK, and there is also a strong representation in sectors like financial services and retail.
  • EU students account for eight per cent of all undergraduates and 13 per cent of postgraduates in London, compared with four per cent and seven per cent across the UK.
  • In the last quarter of 2015, London exported goods valued at £3.4 bn (around 40 per cent of its exports of goods) to the EU, 10 per cent of the UK total and the second highest regional export value.