“There are 1.5 million Brits employed in EU citizen owned businesses in our country”
Chuka Umunna MP, 6 October 2016
The figure for the number of employees is correct, rounded to the nearest half-million. In 2014, about 1.6 million people in the UK were employed by businesses that were EU-owned, or by businesses whose parent company was EU-owned.
One of Mr Umunna's colleagues told us that these figures were released in response to a Freedom of Information request, so we contacted the Office for National Statistics to ask whether the figures might have changed substantially since they were released. It told us that the figures would vary year-on-year, but that there was unlikely to have been a substantial drop since 2014. So it seems fair to assume that the figure would still be similar now.
1.6 million employees is equal to about 5% of the 28 million people employed in the UK as a whole.
We haven’t seen any figures which tell us the nationality of employees of EU-owned businesses, so we don’t know how many of these 1.6 million people were British.