Low pay and a lack of affordable childcare are holding back parents who want to work, a study has found.
Research by the Child Poverty Action Group showed that one in five unemployed parents wanted to work but found the cost of childcare prohibitively expensive.
Almost as many could not find childcare for the hours they needed, the survey of 1,000 low and middle-income parents revealed.
Almost half of working parents with an annual household income under £30,000 said they did not have enough money to support their families.
The poll found that most working parents wanted permanent jobs with a "sense of purpose", while those returning to work after having a child struggled to retain their previous level of pay and job grade.
Alison Garnham, chief executive of the Child Poverty Action Group, said: "Our findings show Britain wants to work. Parents are saying they want job security, decent pay and good promotion prospects but too often these elude them.
"Pay is often low, extra hours in a job aren't always there, childcare costs are sky-high and too often parents looking to progress in work hit a brick wall.
"We need action from Government. Nearly half of the parents we polled with a household income under £30,000 said they didn't have enough to support their family. The return of inflation will stretch budgets further.
"The Chancellor can help in this month's Budget. A good first step would be to pause and fix universal credit and restore its ability to make work pay for families."
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