Commenting, Neil Leitch, chief executive of the Early Years Alliance, said:
"It is utterly shameful that so many parents are having to choose to have less children – or none at all – because childcare costs in this country are so unaffordable. Worse still, the situation is now so bad that we’re seeing a worrying decline in birth rates as a result.
"There should be no doubt that this is the consequence of a complete failure of government policy. Nurseries, pre-schools and childminders have been grossly underfunded for years, leaving them with no choice but to increase fees for parents, or be forced out of business.
"The private government documents we uncovered through our two-year Freedom of Information battle proved that the government knew that this would happen when they rolled out the 30-hour policy, and that they have been underfunding the early years sector for years, knowing that it would be parents and providers who paid the price.
"With the Spending Review just weeks away and a new team in place at the Department for Education, it's not too late for the government to reverse the concerning trends that the SMF has identified, and recognise that adequately funding our childcare and early education system is one of the wisest investments it can make."