Prime Minister David Cameron will leap to the defence of big business on Thursday in the government's latest attempt to calm a public and political backlash against bankers and highly-paid executives at large companies.

The Conservative-led coalition government has played its own part in so-called banker bashing, not least in putting pressure on banks to cut bonus pay and by stripping former Royal Bank of Scotland boss Fred Goodwin of his knighthood as punishment for his role in the bank's decline during the credit crunch.

But while it has made political sense to pander to a public annoyed about big pay at the top at a time of economic stagnation and austerity, ministers have grown concerned that too much negativity could drive away investment and reduce much-needed tax income from executive pay.

In recent months we've heard some dangerous rhetoric creep into our national debate that wealth creation is somehow anti-social, that people in business are out for themselves, Cameron will say in a speech to a business charity in London, according to extracts released in advance by his office.

We have got to fight this mood with all we've got. Not just because it's wrong for our economy ... because it's wrong for our society.

Cameron's speech will highlight some of the work that big business does to help society, pointing specifically to some of the banks that came under fire during the financial crisis.

The government has been trying to rebalance the economy away from financial services, while at the same time trying to protect its banks from any adverse European Union regulations, admitting that any economic recovery will still rely heavily on a robust and growing financial sector.

Frankly I am sick of this anti-business snobbery, he will say. I see Barclays offering over 3,000 work experience placements for pupils and I say that has got nothing to do with cuts and everything to do with improving our country.

His speech will come shortly after RBS, bailed out by the previous Labour government at the height of the financial crisis, updates investors on its 2011 performance.

RBS chief executive Stephen Hester waived his bonus this year after coming under intense pressure from the government and the media to do so.

The results are likely to stir up a debate over whether banks, especially those backed by the taxpayer, are doing enough to lend to small businesses and whether more should be done to clamp down on executive pay.

(Editing by Ralph Gowling)