Staff at Surrey County Council who give a child a loving home will get the same cash support as birth parents under a new scheme.

The council has put adoption and maternity pay on an equal footing to help female employees taking responsibility for children who cannot stay with their own family.

The scheme comes after David Cameron vowed to tackle the barriers to adoption.

At the moment, biological mothers across the country receive more money for the first six weeks of maternity leave than adoptive mothers.

Currently, council employees entitled to maternity leave pay receive 90 per cent of her normal weekly earnings for six weeks, before getting a lower statutory rate for another 33.

Under Surrey’s scheme, women who adopt will also get 90 per cent of their usual weekly pay for those six weeks, instead of the lower statutory rate.

Councillor Mary Angell said: “Birth mothers expect to take time off to bond with their children and those who adopt should be able to do the same without losing out financially.

“Our scheme allows them to do that as well as encouraging other people to think about making space in their life and home for a child who really needs security and stability.”

To find out more, call 08000 969626 or email .