A Cabinet minister hit out at big company bosses accusing them of "whingeing" and refusing to invest in jobs and the British economy.
Defence Secretary Philip Hammond stepped up the government's onslaught on business, claiming large firms were unwilling to take risks despite sitting on a "large pile of cash".
His comments came on Sunday night after Foreign Secretary William Hague told business to stop complaining about the Government - insisting the only answer to Britain's economic woes was hard work.
Ministers were clearly stung by criticisms from business leaders that the Queen's Speech last week contained nothing to stimulate the stagnant economy.
"Large businesses are sitting on a pretty large pile of cash," Hammond told BBC Radio 5 Live's Pienaar's Politics.
"What we have got to try and do is persuade businesses to take the plunge, to just use some of their cash pile, to take a judgment about where demand is going, where the economy is going in the future, and be prepared to back their judgment
with investment in British jobs and capacity in the British economy.
"That's what the private sector is about, that's why people in private business can legitimately say they should make profits because they do take risks - it is about persuading them to get out there and invest and take some risks."
Asked if he was accusing businesses of whingeing, he replied: "They are, yes, I suppose in a way whingeing about it."