More than a third of working mothers would give up their jobs and stay at home to look after their children if they could afford it, according to new Government research.
The Department for Education research also found that six out of ten mothers who work would cut their hours to spend more time at home if money allowed.
The Childcare and Early Years Survey was conducted between November 2012 and June last year, and is based on interviews with 6,400 parents.
Almost a quarter of working mothers said they would like to take on more hours if they could find affordable and reliable childcare.
Laura Perrins, of the campaign group Mothers at Home Matter, said that ministers have placed “relentless pressure” on mothers to work by bringing in policies which separate them from their children.
“The Government’s own survey confirms the fact that the majority of mothers in work would like to spend more time at home caring for their children, not, as this Government would have us believe, less.”
“Instead of expanding childcare, for which families have no desire, we should be moving to a family-friendly taxation system”, she said.
The research said: “Mothers in higher socio-economic groups were more likely to prefer to work fewer hours if they could afford it in order to spend more time looking after their children, and less likely to prefer to work more hours if they could arrange good quality childcare”.
More than seven out of ten parents who chose not to use childcare did so because they wanted to look after their children themselves, the survey found.
Only 13 per cent said they did not use childcare because it was too expensive.
George Osborne came under fire last year over his plans to give childcare vouchers to families with two working parents.
Critics said the proposals were “deeply insulting” to parents who stay at home, and are part of a pattern of financial punishment for them.
Under the plans, up to £1,200 per child would be given to families where both parents go out to work – up to a salary of £300,000 between the parents.