Cash-strapped parents in Edinburgh are being forced out of work by childcare costs of up to £12,000 a year – the highest in Europe.

The average cost of a private nursery place in the capital is £38 per day, which works out more than some private schools, Save the Children revealed.

Researchers found one-quarter of parents in severe poverty – earning less than £12,000 a household – had given up work and one-third have turned down work due to high childcare costs. The charity wants the government to give 15 hours childcare per week and out-of-school care for five to 14-year-olds on low incomes for free and negotiate a universal credit.

In Manchester, parents pay £29 on average a day, while in London it is £33 a day. On the Continent, French parents receive heavily subsidised child placements costing £32 a week on average.