The Daycare Trust called on the government to do more to help with the spiralling costs of early years child care, in a report today.
Its annual survey of child care costs found a typical full-time nursery place for a child under two now costs well over £7,000 in Scotland and Wales, and over £8000 in England.
Costs have risen by 5% in England in the past year, compared to an inflation rate last month of 2.1%, it found.
The trust, a member of the End Child Poverty coalition, urged the government to expand free nursery provision to 20 hours a week, 48 weeks a year, for all two- to four-year-olds. It is currently 12.5 hours a week, 38 weeks a year for three- to four-year-olds, with plans to increase this to 15 hours a week by 2010.
The trust is also calling for more investment in out-of-school childcare, where costs are rising at six times the rate of inflation.
It said on average UK parents paid around 70% of child care costs compared to an average of nearer 30% across Europe.
However, it also urged parents to claim all the support they were entitled to, including tax credits, child care vouchers and free nursery places, which it said would cover 80% of costs for some families.