Mothers with full-time jobs need to work for up to four months a year in order to break even on childcare costs, new research has revealed.
According to a study from the Family Investments organisation, mothers in the South-west have to work almost 19 weeks a year before recovering the average costs of a childminder or nursery, compared to 15 weeks in the West Midlands.
The figures will add weight to calls for the Government to take action to stop the spiralling cost of childcare which, according to recent reports prevents up to one million women with young families returning to work.
On average, a mother in Britain spends £7,127 per year on childcare, with costs in London rising to £9,283.
Mothers living in the North of England tend to need to work for a week less per year than those living in the South to break even on their childcare costs, researchers said.
However, Yorkshire and Humberside was a notable exception, with mothers needing to work an above-national average of 17.7 weeks a year.