Single parents who want to work cannot find jobs with flexible working hours or the childcare to support them, according to a charity.

Lone parents feel they have to choose between their children and their jobs, One Parent Families|Gingerbread says.

The Social Security Advisory Committee (SSAC) has called for changes to the legislation that states lone parents with a youngest child of at least 12 will no longer be entitled to income support on the grounds of being a lone parent from November 2008.

Kate Bell, head of policy at One Parent Families|Gingerbread, said the charity has heard from an increasing number of single parents on its helpline.

"They feel they have to make the decision for when they have to be there for their children and how best to combine that with paid work," she added.

According to the Labour Force Survey from the Office for National Statistics, 1.9 million single parents – ninety per cent of them mothers – are caring for three million children.

The figures also showed a quarter British families are now headed by a single parent and only two per cent are teenagers, while the median age is 36.