The efforts of parents to raise a bit of extra cash to swell school coffers have always been welcome.

To help the hard working volunteers who give up their time for school fayres and disco nights facilities such as buildings or playing fields have usually been available for free.

Now such fundraising events are increasingly under threat as councils facing public funding cutbacks introduce a raft of new charges for parent associations of as much as £200.

A new survey on the issue by parent body Connect revealed that more than half of parent groups across Scotland who fundraise now always have to pay to let buildings.

Charges include overtime for a janitor to open and close buildings, the cost of first aid specialists, fire wardens and cleaners as well as food hygiene certificates and public entertainment licences.

The social media poll, which attracted responses from more than 70 parent councils and parent teacher associations from 27 different councils, found charges ranged from £30 to up to £200 for a one off event.

A higher proportion of responses came from groups in Edinburgh, Glasgow and Renfrewshire.

Eileen Prior, executive director of Connect, called for an end to “prohibitive” charges for fundraising activities.

She said: “We now hear regularly from parent groups which are having to pay for school lets for their fundraising events or meetings, despite the fact their activities often benefit the school community financially as well as socially.

“It is clear some local authorities are generating income through school let charges for parent councils and parent teacher associations while others do not make charges when events and activities are clearly for the benefit of the school community. This is cynical and harms parents’ trust in the school and local authority.

“Some local authorities also have complicated, unclear booking processes which leave parent groups unsure of whether their event can go ahead. Others manage to have easy to use, straightforward systems.”

Ms Prior called on councils and the Scottish Government to work together to ensure parent groups are supported in what they do.

She added: “They make a huge financial and social contribution to their schools and making sure there is parental engagement and involvement in schools is a top national policy priority and it must be supported in practical ways.”

However, local authorities argue that with current cuts to funding it is impossible to run all the events they currently do without introducing some charges.

Where charges have been introduced, the survey found potential solutions included holding multiple events on the same day to minimise costs.

Other groups avoid weekends and try to hold schools fundraisers during the school day, although this means parents who work cannot attend.

Thirteen per cent of those surveyed said charges were lower than £30 for an event, 11 per cent said between £31 and £50 and 30 per cent said more than £50.

Where charges per event exceeded £50 costs could be as much as £19 an hour. A fundraising fayre, with set up and clear up time added in, could cost up to £200.

Some of the costs go to the school, but in many cases the cash is sent to the council or arms’ length companies such as PPP contractors in charge of buildings.

In some cases local authorities require parents to pay upfront using their own debit or credit cards, with the money then being reclaimed from their parent group.

One parent said: “Cost of lets impacts on our ability to offer free events so everyone can join in. It should be free, given that we are raising money for the school.”

Another respondent said: “We can’t run parent education classes because of the fees for using a class and the janitor charges. It is too expensive and there is no reduced rate for parent or volunteer groups.”

A parent said: “It is appalling that school let charges apply for fundraising for the school. It is ridiculous that we pay for the school let when raising money to pay for stationery for children.

“The local authority is failing to pay for stationery and then charging the parent teacher association for helping the local authority. We hold meetings elsewhere because it is much cheaper.”