The government needs to increase the amount of money it is offering to the nation’s poorest families to encourage them back into the workplace.

That is according to the Daycare Trust, which has said that currently cash-strapped households are only entitled to 12.5 hours of childcare for three and four-year-olds.

Joe Caluori, Daycare Trust’s campaigns officer, said that the government should be looking to increase that amount to 20 hours "enabling parents to work as well".

Commenting on the need to improve the childcare services currently available, Mr Caluori said: "They need to invest in childcare training and in wages to increase the quality of the care provided."

He went on to suggest that "the poorest parents" should be able to claim 100 per cent of childcare costs through tax credits and he said childcare should be made available for two-year-olds.

A report published by the Department for Children, Schools and Families in January this year revealed that some six million employees have benefited from the right to request flexible working.

It also showed that 78 per cent of parents who request to work flexibly have their application accepted.