Mothers with full-time jobs need to work for up to four months a year just to pay for childcare costs, new research has revealed.

A study from the Family Investments Organisation, suggests that on average a mother in Britain spends £7,127 per year on childcare, with costs in London rising to £9,283.

The research also indicated that mothers in the South-west have to work almost 19 weeks a year before recovering the average costs of a child-minder or nursery, compared to 15 weeks in the West Midlands.

Commenting on these figures, Iain McMath, Managing Director of Sodexo Motivation Solutions, a leading childcare voucher provider, said:

“The fact that working parents need to devote more than a third of their salary to pay for childcare is unacceptable. Soaring childcare costs are preventing mothers from going back to work and killing their career hopes.”

McMath suggested that the Government can help to resolve this issue:

“Firstly, by making childcare vouchers available to all parents, and removing the current exclusion of those that are self-employed. Secondly, to raise the cap on childcare vouchers to a level that will make a real difference to parents who are currently spending four months of their salary each year on childcare.”

He added:

“Childcare vouchers are a powerful tool for incentivising working parents and enabling mothers to return to the workplace. Not only do childcare vouchers provide direct financial savings as part of a salary sacrifice scheme, but they can also lower taxable income, which can in many cases lead to an increase in child benefit payments – a bonus that will help working parents even further.

“If the Government is to make a serious investment in helping the UK’s hard working parents, childcare vouchers are therefore an important place to begin. As such, we hope to see this as a focus in the coalition’s mid-term review this month.”