One in five parents have considered working less hours or quitting work all together to raise their child as they cannot afford the cost of childcare, according to a survey.

Around 18% of parents with children aged up to 16 years old said the financial strain of childcare meant they may have to alter their working day to reduce the need for paying for the service.

More than a quarter (28%) added they will be cutting back on treats in order to meet childcare costs, with 16% admitting they will have to cut back on essentials over the next 12 months.

Children and family charity 4Children – who conducted the survey of 1,000 parents – is urging all political parties to make helping parents with childcare a political priority in the run up to the general election.

Anne Longfield, 4Children chief executive said: "Childcare represents a huge financial challenge for most parents and our poll shows the real impact costs are having on family life – from giving up work to cutting back on essentials. Removing parents' choice as to whether or not they continue to work after having children is not the answer for families or for the economy.

"Parents of the youngest children are feeling the pressures most acutely and are calling on politicians to do more to help, particularly with the cost of childcare.

"The family vote will be key at the ballot box in May and 4Children is throwing down the gauntlet to politicians to set out how they will ensure childcare meets the needs of modern family life."