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Carney: EU referendum needed ‘as soon as necessary’

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Bank of England governor Mark Carney says the UK should hold a referendum on its membership of the EU “as soon as necessary”.

Speaking on the BBC’s Today programme yesterday, Carney said: “We talk to a lot of bosses and there has been uncertainty, whether it’s for the election or the referendum.”

He said businesses “have not yet acted on that uncertainty” but that it was in the country’s interest to resolve the issue.

Prior to the general election Prime Minister David Cameron promised a referendum by 2017 on whether the UK sremain part of the EU.

Carney also warned British workers’ low productivity was “one of the great costs of the financial crisis”.

He said: “What you have in economies after a financial crisis is a sharp drop in productivity… there is a huge opportunity cost.”

He added: “We have been successively disappointed with the productivity performance of the UK.

“[Productivity] matters in terms of the speed limit for the economy and for when we should raise interest rates.

“We think the most likely path for interest rates is up.”

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