The rising costs of living is forcing mothers back to work to help make ends meet. New research shows that the number of stay-at-home parents is at its lowest level in 15 years, with only 7% of parents affording the luxury of staying at home to look after their children.

The study by shows that 38% of parents are returning to work due to financial reasons, not surprising as the average disposable income has hit the lowest level in a decade. Household bills have also increased by an extra £148 a month since 2007.

Financial worries do not end when the parent return to work, as child care costs are now higher than ever before. The last six years saw a 33% rise for childcare for the under-2s, with this figure is set to rise a further 10% by 2010.

The Director of Consumer Policy, Ann Robinson said: “Economic factors are taking away the choice for many young families today. People who want to stay at home can’t afford to due to rising household bills, and even people who want to return to work can’t afford to either, due to the high cost of childcare.”