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Almost 7 in 10 (68%) stay-at-home mums (SAHMs) living with children aged 18 and under in the UK would go back to work in some capacity if flexible working around childcare was an option, more than a third (37%) of working mums would increase the number of hours they worked each week, if they could work flexibly.

Based on the average increase across this group, flexible working has the potential to boost working hours by an additional 36 million hours per week across the UK as a whole.

Thanks to the larger populations and higher levels of wages and productivity, flexible working could boost output across the capital by as much as £16 billion. In contrast, Wales and the North East of England could see boosts of just under £2.5 billion each as a result of the additional hours that mums would be prepared to work.

Kathryn Tyler, co-founder and co-CEO, Digital Mums, said: "In 2016, women shouldn't have to choose between a rewarding career and motherhood.

"While for some mums staying at home is a choice, our report shows that for a larger number their hands are tied because of a lack of flexible work options. Shockingly, for those who do find flexible work, it comes at a cost - compromised skills and experience.”

Northern Ireland and the North East have the highest share of Stay-At-Home Mums (SAHMs), with over three in ten (31%) mothers classifying themselves as this. Elsewhere, the share stands at between 30% and 20% for the majority of the regions, with just the East Midlands (18%) and Wales (17%) standing below the 20% mark.

Despite laws introduced by the Government in 2014 to allow everyone the legal right to request flexible working, 6 in 10 UK working mums (60%) still don’t have access to flexible work.

The research revealed almost one in ten (9%) have missed out on a job they were qualified for because the role didn’t offer flexible hours. Similarly, 17% of mums have been put off applying for a new job because they thought it wouldn’t offer flexible hours – this rises to 22% in Northern Ireland.

Ms Tyler added: "In today’s highly connected world, there’s simply no need for businesses to stick to an archaic 9-5 desk policy. We need a societal shift to embrace flexible working as the 'norm' and not the exception.

“This will not only help mums find rewarding careers that fit their skills and family life; it will help businesses tap into an amazing talent pool and, ultimately, increase output for the economy."