THE FUTURE OF agricultural and county rural shows could be devastated if the government pushes ahead with proposals that would see show organisers liable for a national tariff for health and safety inspections, it has been claimed.

Currently local authorities cover the cost of health and safety inspections at one-off outdoor events but that could change. Culture secretary Tessa Jowell has proposed outdoor shows attracting over 6000 visitors should pay a new national tariff for inspections – likely to be based on attendance figures – of between £5000 and £50,000 per event.

Some event co-ordinators, including Newport, Shropshire-based show orgainser Clare Farrell, have already expressed concern.