Nearly half of parents with young children in England have had to incur debt to pay for childcare, a survey has found © Getty Images/Liesel Bockl

Having a child in England has become “financial suicide” for many families as unaffordable childcare costs are driving parents into debt or even abortion, according to a report by the campaign group Pregnant Then Screwed published on Sunday.

Around 46% of parents in England with a child under the age of five say they have been plunged into debt or have had to draw down savings to pay for childcare – a 30% increase from last year, the survey found.

One in three mothers were unable to return to work full-time due to childcare costs, while around 70% of mothers admitted that “after paying for childcare it doesn’t make financial sense” for them to work.

The survey also revealed that more than half of mothers (52.5%) who have had an abortion cited the cost of childcare as the primary reason for terminating their pregnancy.

“We’ve not only got a cost of living crisis, we’ve got a cost of working crisis that disproportionately impacts mothers,” said Joeli Brearley, the CEO and founder of Pregnant Then Screwed.

UK workers warned of lower wage growth UK workers warned of lower wage growth

Many parents in England who want to have more children simply cannot afford it, she maintains. The average cost of sending a child under the age of two to nursery full time in England now costs almost £270 ($342) a week, or more than £14,000 ($17,728) a year, data on the government’s Money Helper website showed.

“Being a parent is tough enough, but when having more children means sacrificing your income, procreation feels like financial suicide,” Brearley argued.

“If we aren’t careful, becoming a parent will be a luxury item, and the economy can’t afford to pay that price,” she added.

The survey comes as the government has pledged to reduce childcare costs starting in April. However, some 90% of those polled do not believe the government’s promises.

The Pregnant Then Screwed study represented a sample of 5,870 respondents who were randomly selected from a pool of 35,800 who took the survey.

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