229 episodes

David Aaronovitch and a panel of experts and insiders present in-depth explainers on big issues in the news.

The Briefing Room BBC Radio 4

    • Podcasts
    • 4.8 • 623 Ratings

David Aaronovitch and a panel of experts and insiders present in-depth explainers on big issues in the news.

    The Cost of Living Crisis

    The Cost of Living Crisis

    There are growing calls for emergency measures to tackle the cost-of-living crisis. Energy bills are now predicted to be hundreds of pounds higher than was expected just a few weeks ago. The Bank of England has increased interest rates, and warned of the twin threat of inflation and a recession.

    What policy options does the government have? How can ministers get help to the growing numbers of people forced to choose between heating and eating.

    Joining David Aaronovitch in The Briefing Room are:

    Felicity Hannah, consumer affairs journalist and BBC Moneybox presenter
    Nicole Sykes, director of Policy and Communications, Pro Bono Economics
    Nick Eyre, professor of Energy and Climate Change, Oxford University
    Gemma Tetlow, chief economist, Institute of Government
    Duncan Weldon, economist and author of Two Hundred Years of Muddling Through

    • 29 min
    Scotland's drugs problem

    Scotland's drugs problem

    Scotland has the worst figures for drug-related deaths anywhere in Europe. According to National Records for Scotland, 1,330 drug users died in 2021 - a slight improvement, but a death rate per capita which is still 4.8 times higher than England's.

    Why do so many Scots die from drugs? And what more can be done to prevent it?

    Joining David Aaronovitch in The Briefing Room are:
    James Cook, BBC Scotland Editor
    Kirsten Horsburgh, Director of Operations at the Scottish Drugs Forum
    Andrew McAuley, Glasgow Caledonian University
    Professor Catriona Matheson, University of Stirling
    Professor Alex Stevens, University of Kent

    PHOTO: Campaigning group Faces and Voices of Recovery protesting outside the Scottish Parliament in July 2022. Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images

    • 29 min
    Adapting to a hotter Britain

    Adapting to a hotter Britain

    Last week, temperatures in the UK reached a record-breaking 40.3 degrees centigrade. As Britons sweltered in their homes and offices, railway lines buckled, fires broke out in Greater London and the tarmac on Luton Airport runway began to lift. Climate Change scientists now describe this kind of heat as 'the new normal'.

    How well is Britain set up to cope with extreme weather events? Do we need to start heat-proofing our houses and infrastructure? And does government need to focus more on adapting to climate change?

    Joining David Aaronovitch are:

    Mark Maslin, professor of Climatology at University College London

    Glenn McGregor, professor of Climatology at Durham University

    Richard Dawson, professor of Engineering at Newcastle University and member of the UK's Climate Change Committee

    Kathryn Brown, former head of the Adaption at the UK's Climate Change Committee

    Producers: Tim Mansel, Kirsteen Knight and Simon Watts.
    Editor: Penny Murphy.
    Studio manager: Graham Puddifoot.
    Production co-ordinator: Helena Warwick-Cross.

    • 29 min
    Ukraine: Who is winning?

    Ukraine: Who is winning?

    The war in Ukraine is about to enter its sixth month. The cost of Russia’s invasion has been enormous: millions of refugees; thousands of dead soldiers; thousands more dead civilians; and billions of dollars’ worth of physical damage. It’s the most consequential military conflict for a generation.

    This week the Briefing Room investigates what’s happening now on the ground and whether either side is close to victory or collapse. Joining David Aaronovitch are:

    Nina Kuryata, Ukrainian journalist with Tortoise Media
    Shashank Joshi, Defence Editor at The Economist
    Samantha de Bendern, Associate Fellow in the Russia and Eurasia Programme at Chatham House
    Sir Lawrence Freedman, Emeritus Professor of War Studies at King’s College, London


    Producers: Tim Mansel, Kirsteen Knight and Simon Watts. Editor: Richard Vadon. Studio Manager: Neil Churchill. Production co-ordinators: Siobhan Reed & Helena Warwick-Cross

    PHOTO CREDIT: Miguel Medina/AFP via Getty Images

    • 28 min
    Covid - how worried should we be this time?

    Covid - how worried should we be this time?

    More than two years after the emergence of Covid, infection levels are high once again. The Office for National Statistics estimates that 2.7 million people, or 1 in 25 of us, have got Coronavirus.

    There’s concern too about new Omicron variants BA.4 and BA.5 – mutations which help the virus re-infect our bodies.

    But how worried should we actually be this time? Are the mutations normal or an alarming new development? And how much of a threat does Coronavirus still face to the NHS?

    Joining David Aaronovitch in The Briefing Room are:

    James Gallagher, BBC Health and Science Correspondent
    Gideon Skinner, Head of Politics Research in Public Affairs at Ipsos
    Miriam Deakin, Director of Policy and Stategy of NHS Providers
    Meaghan Kall, Epidemiologist at the UK Health Security Agency
    Neil Ferguson, Head of the MRC Centre for Global Infectious Disease Analysis at Imperial College, London.

    Producers: Tim Mansel, Kirsteen Knight and Simon Watts. Editor: Richard Vadon. Studio Manager: Rod Farquhar Production co-ordinators: Siobhan Reed & Helena Warwick-Cross

    • 29 min
    What's wrong with the NHS, and how do we fix it?

    What's wrong with the NHS, and how do we fix it?

    Last year spending on health and social care in the UK hit nearly £200bn. That’s roughly a fifth of total government spending. Yet the perception has been that things have got worse.

    Have they? If so, how much worse? How do we compare with other similar countries? And what might we do differently?

    Joining David Aaronovitch in the briefing room are:

    Siva Anandaciva, Chief Analyst at the King’s Fund
    Professor Carol Propper, health economist at Imperial College
    Mark Pearson, Deputy Director of Employment, Labour and Social Affairs at the OECD
    Dr Jennifer Dixon, Chief Executive at The Health Foundation

    Producers: Octavia Woodward, Kirsteen Knight and Ben Carter
    Editor: Richard Vadon
    Studio manager: Neil Churchill
    Production co-ordinators: Siobhan Reed & Sophie Hill

    Image: Paramedics unloading a stretcher Credit: Tejas Sandhy/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty

    • 29 min

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5
623 Ratings

623 Ratings

Zakaria356 ,

Insightful & informative

Love David’s style! Clearly sets out the debate in a academic framework. Gets to the heart of the issue. Keep going!

CastelloHouse ,

Consistently one of the best podcasts

Punchy, relevant and insightful. Always a good listen. Although I thought I was listening to an episode of Yes Minister in the last episode 😊

57deacon ,

Excellent format and content.

This podcast has a winning formula. Punchy, concise interrogation and analysis of hot topics in an easily digested format.

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