LONDON - Businesses must respond to Britain's strong economic growth and low inflation by boosting pay, Prime Minister David Cameron will say on Tuesday, seeking to address his election opponents' argument that many are yet to feel the benefit of recovery.
With less than three months until what is set to be a closely fought vote, Cameron's Conservatives have put the economy at the centre of their campaign to remain in government, hoping to capitalise on strong economic competence ratings.
Last year the British economy grew at its fastest rate since 2007. Official data showed the wages of British workers grew by more than inflation in November for a third month in a row, having previously lagged it for five years.
But with earnings in real terms still well below pre-financial crisis levels, the opposition Labour party have argued the recovery has been uneven and that many Britons are suffering from what it calls 'a cost of living crisis'.
"As the economy continues to grow it's important ... that everyone benefits," Cameron will say in a speech to the British Chambers of Commerce on Tuesday, according to extracts released in advance by his office.
"Put simply, it's time Britain had a pay rise," he will say, echoing a line often used by the trade unions, financial backers to the opposition Labour party.
British inflation plunged to its lowest level since May 2000 in December, reflecting a slide in global oil prices.
Cameron will say these lower costs must be passed on.
"Economic success can't just be shown in the GDP figures or on the balance sheets of British businesses ... but in people's pay packets and bank accounts and lifestyles," he will say.
"Now that your costs are falling and it's cheaper to do business, I'm confident that more businesses will pass on that good economic news to their workers, in rising pay cheques and higher earnings."