Childcare for under-twos in Ipswich costs nearly 80% of a parent's weekly take-home pay.

Government figures show those living in the town's median take-home pay is £388.04 and the cost of full-time nursery per week is £303.61, or 78% of a parent's weekly take-home pay.

This figure is 13% above the national average of 65% and 7% above the east of England regional average of 71%.

Tara Spence, chief executive of family charity Home-Start in Suffolk, said: "At Home-Start, many families tell us how difficult it is to access low cost childcare and in many cases families that pay for childcare to allow them to work, only just break even!"

Ipswich's Labour parliamentary candidate Jack Abbott echoed these concerns, highlighting the "impossible situation" many families are entering in the midst of the cost-of-living crisis.

"Families in Ipswich are contending with crippling nursery bills which account for 80% of their take home pay," said Mr Abbott

"Alongside spirally bill costs and potential real terms cuts to social security support, young families are facing an impossible situation."

He added: "The reality is that extortionate childcare costs make it financially impossible for parents to get back to work.

"It is completely counter-intuitive - parents want to work, but can't be expected to be driven into severe debt to do so."

Figures from the Office for National Statistics show that the number of women looking after family instead of entering paid employment has risen by 5% - the first sustained increase in at least 30 years.

Parents are shown to be falling into debt to cover the cost of childcare, with a survey suggesting 49% of mothers are in debt, excluding their mortgage, and one in 10 are £20,000 or more in debt.

This survey also found that 51% of mums said the cost of living was affecting their childcare decisions, 49% had not had a pay rise in line with inflation and 68% had delayed their careers after having children.