Parents with the lowest incomes are having to spend three times as much on childcare as the richest, new research has found.
The poorest parents spend 17 per cent of their household earnings on childcare, compared to 5 per cent for the wealthiest.
And of those in the poorest income band, one in three are in “childcare poverty”, meaning they spend over 20 per cent of their household income on childcare, the Social Market Foundation(SMF) found.
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The research, commissioned by the Commission on Childcare made up of Conservative and Labour MPs, found over half of parents with the lowest household incomes (less than £10,000) and children under five are paying for some sort of formal childcare.
Affordable childcare is vital for parents to progress with their careers and one of the key factors preventing gender equality, said Scott Corfe, research director of the SMF.
“It is imperative that the childcare market is fixed,” he said. “Low-income families should not have to spend such a large portion of their income on it, and parents should not have to sacrifice their careers for it.”