The Bank of England's governor has said that a promised "in/out" referendum on Britain's membership in the European Union should take place "as soon as necessary."

Mark Carney says that many businesses "have not yet acted on that uncertainty" and are continuing to invest and hire.

But he told the BBC on Thursday that clarity in the process is in the interest of everyone.

Carney said access to the European market is one of the biggest advantages of the British economy. The EU is also the largest investor in Britain.

Prime Minister David Cameron has pledged to hold a national vote on whether Britain should leave the EU before the end of 2017. The issue is one of the most important challenges facing his government in the next five years.