Since 2001 the UK has lost a quarter of its pubs. They've shut their doors for good. High taxes, high prices, supermarket competition, even the smoking ban have all been blamed. But there are new types of pub, the micropub, and community-owned pubs, which are bucking the trend. While larger, traditional establishments have been under pressure, these have flourished. So why have they been able to succeed where others have not? For In Business, John Murphy visits his local boozer - and others - to see what these new pubs have to offer.
Presenter: John Murphy
Producer: Ruth Alexander
Keeping the Lights On
As Britain’s sources of electricity change, along with significant changes in demand, how will the lights stay on? The major power blackout that hit the UK in early August – the worst in more than a decade – was an indication of how increasingly complicated our electricity grid is becoming. Hundreds of thousands of people, as well as major transport hubs, were affected as electricity supplies were cut to restore balance to the system and prevent an even greater blackout. The National Grid, which is the energy system operator, said two generators, including a major wind-farm, tripped out after lightning struck a high-voltage transmission line. The episode raised many questions about how stable the UK’s electricity supply system is. What is clear is that the traditional coal-fired generators, which used to supply much of the UK’s electricity, are being rapidly phased out. Now many more - and varied - generators supply the grid, including small and huge wind-farms, solar farms, nuclear power stations, gas-fired plants, hydro-electric turbines and other sources. This makes the management of the system more tricky. Then there’s the demand side. Electricity demand is growing, not least with the prospect of electrical cars becoming commonplace. Without building the right infrastructure, with the right storage, and without the correct planning, the electricity grid will not be able to cope.
David Baker speaks to the National Grid, to major electricity suppliers, and to smaller, community-based generators, asking how the system is changing and what needs to be done to make sure it remains reliable, affordable and sustainable, so that the future is not one of widespread blackouts.
Presenter: David Baker
Producer: John Murphy
Picture: National Grid's Electricity Control Centre
What is the value of women’s work?
Iceland has taken radical measures to reduce its gender pay gap. These aren't just about equalising pay when men and women do the same job but when they do different jobs of equal value. That's proved to be quite a sticking point in many countries around the world; ensuring that the jobs routinely occupied by women are paid as well as those that men do. Lesley Curwen meets the people tasked with comparing a production line worker with an office administrator, an HR professional with an accountant and a camera operator with a social media marketeer. What has the financial and cultural impact been on companies that have had to adjust their pay rates and what do their employees think about the process? Is the Iceland model one that other countries could follow?
Presenter: Lesley Curwen
Producer: Rosamund Jones
Picture Credit: Getty Creative
Belarus: Harvesting the whirlwind
The irradiated lands around the Chernobyl nuclear reactor were large, prosperous, and lively collective farms until the reactor exploded in 1986. Seventy percent of the toxic radiation fell in Belarus – a small, agrarian country in which most people lived on the land. Hundreds of villages were evacuated, but much of the population has since returned. A generation later Global Business visits the Belarussian contamination zone and its hinterland to see how the local economy and way of life has adapted to a world turned upside down. We meet the beekeepers developing a honey farm in the depopulated part of the zone, visit an unexpected herd of horses and hear about the innovations in arable farming designed to resist radioactive toxins.
Produced and presented by Monica Whitlock
Image: Horses in Belarus Radio-Ecological Zone Credit: Ilya Kuzniatsou
Can Liberian rubber bounce back?
A victim of the “resource curse”, Liberia is one of the poorest countries in the world, in spite of being rich in natural resources. Rubber is one of the country’s biggest exports but few Liberians have benefitted from this multimillion dollar business. In this Global Business, Josephine Casserly meets a retired Californian policeman, James Cooper, who has returned to his grandfather’s farm, determined to revolutionise Liberia’s rubber industry. But in a country with a struggling economy and endemic corruption, can he succeed? Produced by Lucy Ash