PM call to firms on oil price falls
Companies should pass on the benefits of falling oil prices to their staff, David Cameron has said.
The Prime Minister said plummeting costs were a real boost for many businesses and workers should reap the rewards.
Flourishing firms should also pay staff the living wage, currently set at £7.85, said Mr Cameron, who has made a two-day visit to the US for talks with President Obama, and was speaking in Washington.
Global oil prices have dropped dramatically over the last seven months amid falling demand in economically struggling countries and increased production in the United States.
Asked whether he would encourage firms to pass on some of the windfall profits from falling oil prices in higher wages, Mr Cameron told reporters: "Obviously I want to see companies' success passed through in terms of wage increases.
"It has to be done in a way that's affordable, and in a way that companies can continue to grow, we need to see productivity increase.
"Companies that can afford to pay the living wage should. It's good and helps to reduce the welfare bill."
Pressed on whether firms should share the oil dividend with their workers, he said: "Falling oil prices is going to benefit a lot of businesses and a lot of countries and we want to see those benefits passed through in all the ways they can be."
Shadow Treasury minister Shabana Mahmood said: "Working people are £1,600 a year worse off under David Cameron and wages continue to stagnate.
"A few months of falling world oil prices will not solve the deep-seated problem of our economy not working for working people.
"While David Cameron just talks, Labour will take action to create more good jobs and make work pay.
"Our economic plan will raise the minimum wage to £8 an hour, introduce tax incentives for firms to pay the living wage, boost apprenticeships and cut business rates for small firms.
"David Cameron says he wants falling oil prices to be passed on in all ways possible.
"But just this week the Tories voted against Labour's plans to give the regulator the power to force energy companies to cut their prices when wholesale costs fall."