Thousands of wealthy mothers appear to be quitting their jobs to look after their children themselves rather than using childminders or nurseries, according to a new study.
Research commissioned by the Department for Education found that the percentage of families in the top 20 per cent income bracket using formal childcare had fallen from 67 per cent to 60 per cent in just a year.
The study, detailed in a 340-page report, also found that six out of 10 working mothers would prefer to have a part-time job and four in 10 wanted to stop working altogether so they could spend more time with their children – if they could afford it, according The Daily Telegraph.
A third of parents said they did not see enough of their children because of work.
Despite this, the use of formal childcare increased by 15 per cent in the last year in the most deprived areas.
Laura Perrins, of the Mothers at Home Matter campaign group, said: “The Government thinks that the Promised Land lies in work, but for most families work is a means for supporting their family – a means to an end; not the end in itself.”
She said the figures showed wealthier families had greater choice over how to raise their children.
“These families have the option of sacrificing a salary to care at home; it is not going to break them, whereas lower income families it seems that the choice is being more or less denied to them,” she added.
In England, some 4.2 million families use some form of childcare.
Elizabeth Truss, minister for childcare, said the Government wanted “greater choice and flexibility for parents which is why it’s encouraging that more parents are finding childcare to suit their work commitments”.
“However, we are not complacent. That's why we are encouraging school nurseries to open from 8am to 6pm and offer more flexible hours for part time workers,” she said. “It's also why we are establishing childminder agencies to increase the number of childminders and cutting red tape for nurseries to enable good ones to expand.”