Childcare costs deter mothers from working
Parents in Belfast are among those finding childcare the biggest barrier to work in the UK, a new report has claimed.
More than 300,000 parents across the UK have not returned to work because of its "ineffective" childcare policies, research by childcare search site findababysitter.com found.
One in four unemployed mothers wanted to work, but childcare costs were stopping them, it found.
Cost was the biggest concern, as well as safety, location and availability, a survey of 1,000 parents on childcare found.
Parents in Cambridge, Glasgow, Belfast, Bristol and Cardiff were finding childcare the biggest obstacle to employment.
Half of parents said the Government was not doing enough to offer support for the cost of looking after children.
Around four out of five parents are in a job, 3% more than last year, the report said, adding that London has the highest number of unemployed parents, while Northern Ireland has the most in work.
Findababysitter said the study, as well as research among hundreds of childcare professionals, suggested that 300,000 parents had been prevented from returning to work.
Chief executive Tom Harrow said: "The last 12 months have seen very little change when it comes to childcare, and the general feeling towards government hasn't shifted among the age group most affected - 18 to 32-year-olds."