By Jonathan Davies

The chairman of British construction firm JCB has said he is in favour the UK leaving the European Union.

Lord Bamford told the BBC that "we are the fifth or sixth largest economy in the world. We could exist on our own - peacefully and sensibly".

The JCB chair said independence from Europe would give the UK greater power to negotiate with the rest of the world, in the UK's best interest.

An in-out referendum on the UK's membership to the EU will take place before the end of 2017. The Conservatives promised the referendum as part of the party's election manifesto.

However, some business leaders have called for the referendum to take place as soon as possible to avoid hurting business confidence.

Lord Bamford's comments come as JCB reported a slight slowdown in growth in 2014. The construction firm posted profits of £303 million, down from £313m in 2013.