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The Briefing Room

Podcast The Briefing Room
Podcast The Briefing Room

The Briefing Room


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  • Social Care - What's Changing?
    For decades the difficult problem of social care - how to fund it, how to provide it - has been kicked into the long grass by government after government. But last month the Prime Minister announced a policy which he said meant no-one would have to sell their house to fund their social care. He also promised more money for social care - though not immediately. A "health and social care levy" is to be created through an increase in National Insurance contributions. So is the problem of social care being fixed? Joining David Aaronovitch in The Briefing Room are: Alison Holt, BBC Social Affairs Editor Peter Beresford, visiting Professor in the School of Health Sciences, University of East Anglia Sally Warren, Director of Social Policy at the King's Fund Jill Manthorpe, Professor of Social Work and Director, NIHR Health & Social Care Workforce Research Unit, King's College London. Producers: John Murphy, Soila Apparicio, Kirsteen Knight Sound Engineer: Graham Puddifoot Editor: Jasper Corbett
  • Britain's Dirty Rivers
    According to campaigners, Britain has some of the dirtiest rivers in Europe. Sewage, slurry from farms and chemicals are all a problem, too often ending up in our rivers. The parliamentary Environmental Audit Committee estimates that the discharge of raw sewage accounts for 55% of rivers in England and Wales failing to reach good ecological status. Not one river has good chemical status. So what's going wrong and what can be done to fix it? Joining David Aaronovitch in the Briefing Room are: Olivia Rudgard, Environment Correspondent for the Daily Telegraph Peter Hammond, retired Professor of Computational Biology at University College London Rachel Salvidge, Deputy Editor of ENDS Report Steve Ormerod, Professor of Ecology and Co-Director of the Water Research Institute, Cardiff University Producers: John Murphy, Kirsteen Knight, Soila Apparicio Sound Engineer: Neil Churchill Editor: Jasper Corbett Photo: Chemical Pollution from Industrial Outfall Pouring into River Mersey UK. Credit: Avalon/Universal Images Group via Getty Images
  • Non-Fungible Tokens
    When a collage of digital images was sold in New York earlier this year for £50 million, the art world was convulsed. The reason? The picture couldn't be hung on a wall and was only visible online. What had been bought and sold was the non-fungible token - or NFT - relating to the collage. David Aaronovitch and his guests discover how NFTs work for those who sell and those who buy them and also consider if NFTs are a passing fad or an aspect of our culture that is becoming increasingly common and might lead to the emergence of a future John Constable or Tracy Emin, eventually spreading to and influencing other art forms. Enter the Briefing Room and find out why collectors are investing in NFTs; how easy it is to spot a fake and what you can do about it; and whether non-fungibles will be an enduring part of the artistic - and investment - worlds in the years ahead. Those taking part include: Georgina Adam of The Art Newspaper; investor in NFTs and co-founder and chief executive of the Arts and culture portal Vastari, Bernardine Bröcker Wieder; and the art historian, former art dealer and presenter of the BBC FOUR series, Britain's Lost Masterpieces, Bendor Grosvenor. Producers Simon Coates and Bob Howard Editor Jasper Corbett Image: Visitors to "Machine Hallucinations - Space: Metaverse" by Refik Anadol, which will be auctioned online as an NFT at Sothebys, at the Digital Art Fair, Hong Kong Credit: REUTERS/Tyrone Siu
  • The UK's Energy Crisis
    The Business Secretary, Kwasi Kwarteng, has said there is 'no question of the lights going out' this winter as a result of a huge rise in gas prices. But many smaller energy companies are struggling to stay afloat as they are unable to pass on the higher wholesale costs of gas to their customers because of the energy price cap. Labour has accused the government of complacency when it comes to energy supplies. Some Conservatives have warned of a tricky winter ahead. So what lies behind the current problems, and what can be done to stop it happening again? Joining David Aaronovitch are : David Sheppard, Energy Editor at the Financial Times Dr Sharon George, Senior Lecturer in Environmental Science, University of Keele Michael Bradshaw Professor of Global Energy at the Warwick Business School Sir Dieter Helm, Professor of Economic Policy at the University of Oxford Producers: John Murphy, Kirsteen Knight, Soila Apparicio Sound Engineer: Graham Puddifoot Editor: Jasper Corbett
  • Vaccine Passports and Booster Jabs
    Government ministers have been blowing hot and cold about vaccine passports. Now the Westminster government says it is not planning to introduce them to England, though they're being kept as an option should things change. The Welsh government is thinking about them, while Northern Ireland has rejected them for now. In Scotland vaccine passports are coming in on October 1st for nightclubs and large venues. But booster jabs are coming across the UK. The roll-out for over-50s, frontline health workers and vulnerable groups will begin in days. Joining David Aaronovitch to ask if we need vaccine passports and boosters are: Laure Millet, head of the healthcare policy programme at the Institut Montaigne in Paris Melinda Mills, Professor of Demography at the University of Oxford and Director of the Leverhulme Centre for Demographic Science Azra Ghani, Professor of Infectious Disease Epidemiology, Imperial College London Natasha Loder, Health Policy Editor at The Economist Producers: John Murphy, Kirsteen Knight, Soila Apparicio Editor: Jasper Corbett

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