Working parents with children under five have seen nursery fees increase three times faster than their wages over the past decade, according to a new study.
An analysis by the TUC showed that childcare costs have risen by 52% since 2008 for families with a full-time and a part-time working parent.
Over the same period their wages have gone up by 17%.
The situation is worse for lone parents, with childcare costs for a single mum or dad working full time increasing seven times faster than earnings.
Average fees in England are now £236 a week for a child under two in nursery, compared to £159 in 2008, £232 a week for a child over two in nursery, compared to £149 in 2008, said the TUC.
Over the past 10 years the growth in nursery fees for families with a full-time and a part-time working parent has outstripped wages the most in the West Midlands, followed by the South East and the North East, the study revealed.
TUC general secretary Frances O'Grady said: "Working parents have seen childcare fees rocket, as their wages have stagnated.
"Despite government support families still face eye-watering nursery bills.
"Britain's cost of living crisis is having a huge impact on working mums and dads."
Children and families minister Nadhim Zahawi said: "We are spending more than any other government on childcare support - around £6 billion a year by 2020.
"As part of this we have doubled our free childcare offer for working parents to 30 hours a week, saving them up to £5,000 a year per child.
"This offer is being successfully delivered all over the country, with more than 340,000 children benefiting from the offer in the first year, helping parents to balance their work and family life."