Critics of the plan to hold a referendum on whether the UK should leave the European Union have warned that if a 'Brexit' were to occur, a number of companies may choose to move their operations out of Britain.
On Tuesday (June 16th), the chief executive of Airbus, Fabrice Bregier, told the BBC that he has "no intention" of pulling his company's manufacturing out of the UK should the country vote to leave the EU.
Speaking at the Paris Airshow, Mr Bregier said that his company was committed to its 16,000 employees based in the UK and that there were no plans to relocate the aircraft manufacturer's British factories. He also admitted that he would have to make a judgement about what the consequences would be for his business following the referendum.
Mr Bregier's comments contradict those made by Airbus UK's chief executive Paul Kahn. Last month, Mr Kahn said that the company would reconsider future investment in the UK if the country voted to leave the EU.
Mr Kahn also said that the UK must compete for international investment, adding that the best way to guarantee this is by remaining part of the EU.
"I believe that it is vital for a company such as Airbus to come out and make a stand in favour of Britain remaining in the European Union," he explained.
Date of the referendum
On Monday, ministers in Whitehall tabled an amendment to the EU referendum bill, ruling out the possibility of holding the referendum vote on May 5th, 2016. This would have been the same day as Scottish, Welsh and Northern Irish assembly elections and local elections.
This means that the referendum is likely to take place in the autumn of 2016 or in 2017, despite calls for the vote to come sooner.
The BBC reports that many businesses have raised concerns about the level of uncertainty that delaying the referendum could cause. These companies have warned that putting off the vote could cause economic harm as investment decisions could be postponed as a result.
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