Families with an annual income of more than £40,000 a year are "finding life tough" as the cost of living soars, Labour leader Ed Miliband said today.
Seizing on incomes analysis by the Institute of Fiscal Studies (IFS), he accused Prime Minister David Cameron of failing to understand the pressures on middle-earners.
While a salary of £44,000 was in the top 20% of earners, Mr Miliband said, it was only enough to maintain an average standard of living for a couple with children.
Writing in London's Evening Standard, he said: "When I first spoke out last month about the cost-of-living crisis for millions of middle and low earners, there was a hostile response from my political opponents.
"David Cameron even claimed that cuts in child benefit (for higher-rate taxpayers) affected only the well-off.
"But the truth is that rising costs of living are a huge issue for families, including some of those on incomes of more than £40,000 a year."
Changes such as cutting child benefit and tax credits, raising VAT and increasing university tuition fees were worsening the "crisis" in the cost of living.
Mr Miliband cited analysis from the respected IFS think tank which demonstrated "the real living standards of families in Britain".
"It shows that while an income of £44,000 a year is very good for an individual who lives on their own or in a couple, the same income if stretched to meet the costs of living for a whole family doesn't offer that family anything like the same standard of living," he wrote.
"In fact, far from being well-off, a single-earner family dependent on an annual income of £44,000 is finding life tough.
"Not in the top 20%, not even in the top third - but around the middle in terms of standard of living.
"This is why Labour sought to help families with children earning up to and beyond this sort of income level - because we recognised the particular costs of raising kids."Reuse content