By Jonathan Davies

The boss of airplane and defence manufacturer Airbus has warned that it may leave the UK if it decides to leave the EU.

Paul Kahn said the UK must be able to compete for investment. "The best way to guarantee this is by remaining part of the EU," he said.

Speaking at the CBI annual dinner last night (Wednesday), Chancellor George Osborne said he wants the UK "to be in Europe, not run by Europe".

The president of the CBI, Sir Mike Rake, said businesses should "speak out early" in support of Britain staying in the EU.

But on Monday, JCB said the UK has 'nothing to fear' in the event of leaving 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," Mr Kahn told the BBC.

Airbus UK employs around 16,000 in Britain. Mr Kahn said the company would not suddenly leave the country, but added: "If after an exit from the European Union, economic conditions in Britain were less favourable for business than in other parts of Europe, or beyond, would Airbus reconsider future investment in the United Kingdom? Yes, absolutely."

'Our position'

In his speech at the CBI, George Osborne said: "Our position - which I think is shared by the majority of British people and a majority of British businesses - is that we want Britain to be in Europe, but not run by Europe.

"The problem of making the single currency work is inevitably drawing its members toward ever-closer integration. We don't want to be part of that integration.

"The challenge for us is to ensure that while this happens we protect the single market, and make sure the EU continues to work in the interests of all 28 member states, including Britain."