David Cameron will spell out his vision of "moral markets" today, as he enters the intense political debate over how to create a more "responsible capitalism".
In a long-awaited speech in London, the Prime Minister is expected to call for reforms to create a new "popular capitalism" and say the Government is prepared to intervene to make it happen.
But he is also likely to stress the benefits of free markets and reject what he regards as the heavy-handed, statist approach favoured by Ed Miliband, the Labour leader.
Mr Cameron will enter the fray against an increasingly gloomy economic backdrop. As unemployment rose to a 17-year high, the Chancellor, George Osborne, admitted that official figures to be published next Wednesday could show Britain slipped into negative growth in the final three months of last year.
Ministers are braced for more damaging headlines next month when UK banks – including the state-owned Royal Bank of Scotland – release their figures.