Around 4.4 million mums are being forced to go back to work due to the rising cost of living, a new survey shows.

Research from Scottish Widows shows almost half of families now have to rely on more than one person to bring a salary home and 61 per cent of those with children have to have two breadwinners.

The company warns this reliance on two incomes to make ends meet means families could face financial difficulties if illness, death or disability occurred.

Richard Jones, protection market director for Scottish Widows, says this need for more than one income is not likely to ease off any time soon.

"Families just don’t have the luxury anymore of being able to have one parent at home to take care of the children and the running of the household if they want to maintain the lifestyle that they have become accustomed to," he adds.

Debt levels for those with children are also increasing, as non-mortgage debt for childless couples is £7,223 on average, compared to £10,829 for those with three or more offspring.

A recent survey from Yakult found a third of people think having a close family is more important than job security or owning their own home.