Reality TV

Can money buy love? Some answers from reality show ‘Rich House Poor House’

Families from opposite ends of the wealth spectrum switch lives for a week in the British series.

One of the biggest hits of British television this year has been the reality drama Rich House Poor House. The Channel 5 show got families from opposite ends of the wealth spectrum to switch lives for a week. The exchange entailed shifting homes, living on new budgets and getting to experience the perks and pitfalls of having or not having money.

In the first episode, the Williamses, Antony and Kayleigh, with their six kids, switch homes with the Caddys, James and Claire, and their five children. The Williamses belong to the bottom 10% of British earners, with a disposable income (after rent and bills) of about 100 pounds. The same figure for Caddys is upwards of 1,700 pounds.

The differences in their living conditions start with the houses. The Williamses live in a three-bedroom house with just one toilet that they have to share among the eight people who make up the family. During the week they appear on the show, they move into the Caddys’ seven-bedroom, seven-toilet house in posh Clifton, a mansion spread over four floors.

For the first night in their new house, the Williamses order in, as does Angela Carter-Begbie, a single mother who represents the lower end of the income divide in episode 2. Each episode has a new pair of families that trade places, but they do more than that. They also get to shop, dine and play at the places the other family frequents, entailing a taste of not just where but how the other lives.

Rich House Poor House.

The shift occasions several heartwarming scenes. Antony decides to buy trainers for his son – shoes whose absence had prevented him for applying to the school football team. He also buys his wife a new necklace that he gifts her at a fancy restaurant that is a regular haunt of the Caddys. The intensity of both scenes – the son is ecstatic while Kayleigh breaks down – is a resounding yes to that old question about money and happiness.

With so much money at her disposal, episode 2’s Angela relaxes for the first time in years about her daily shopping. She gets to buy organic meats and better-quality foods at a price that is perilously close to her weekly salary. Later, she describes her joy at being able to shop unfettered, tears rolling down her cheeks at how lovely it is not to have to worry about money.

But Rich House Poor House does not just showcase the redeeming qualities of financial security. It also brings out the importance of financial discipline and the need to look after those less fortunate than us. Both James and Terry Bentley, the top 10-percent-er from episode 2, come from humble beginnings and appreciate that their wealth is the result of both hard work and luck.

Terry’s daughter Kaylee, who has trouble settling into the Carter-Begbies home, has a moment of revelation when she and her parents talk about finances. Since her movement into Angela’s house, Kaylee has not gone out to eat or visited a spa – the Carter-Begbies’ weekly budget does not permit it. “We like to see you enjoy the money we have while we can,” her mother says, and Kaylee, whose parents are getting on in age, breaks down.

Ultimately, Rich House Poor Houseis a hopeful look at how, while it bestows luxuries, there are things that even money can’t buy. When she returns to her modest accommodation at the end of episode 2, Angela says, “It’s lovely to be back home. Home is where the heart is.” All the comforts in the world cannot ensure the togetherness that a familiar abode with loved ones provides.

Rich House Poor House.
We welcome your comments at
Sponsored Content BY 

Making two-wheelers less polluting to combat air pollution in India

Innovations focusing on two-wheelers can make a difference in facing the challenges brought about by climate change.

Two-wheelers are the lifeline of urban Asia, where they account for more than half of the vehicles owned in some countries. This trend is amply evident in India, where sales in the sub-category of mopeds alone rose 23% in 2016-17. In fact, one survey estimates that today one in every three Indian households owns a two-wheeler.

What explains the enduring popularity of two-wheelers? In one of the fastest growing economies in the world, two-wheeler ownership is a practical aspiration in small towns and rural areas, and a tactic to deal with choked roads in the bigger cities. Two-wheelers have also allowed more women to commute independently with the advent of gearless scooters and mopeds. Together, these factors have led to phenomenal growth in overall two-wheeler sales, which rose by 27.5% in the past five years, according to the Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM). Indeed, the ICE 2016 360 survey says that two-wheelers are used by 37% of metropolitan commuters to reach work, and are owned by half the households in India’s bigger cities and developed rural areas.

Amid this exponential growth, experts have cautioned about two-wheelers’ role in compounding the impact of pollution. Largely ignored in measures to control vehicular pollution, experts say two-wheelers too need to be brought in the ambit of pollution control as they contribute across most factors determining vehicular pollution - engine technology, total number of vehicles, structure and age of vehicles and fuel quality. In fact, in major Indian cities, two-thirds of pollution load is due to two-wheelers. They give out 30% of the particulate matter load, 10 percentage points more than the contribution from cars. Additionally, 75% - 80% of the two-wheelers on the roads in some of the Asian cities have two-stroke engines which are more polluting.

The Bharat Stage (BS) emissions standards are set by the Indian government to regulate pollutants emitted by vehicles fitted with combustion engines. In April 2017, India’s ban of BS III certified vehicles in favour of the higher BS IV emission standards came into effect. By April 2020, India aims to leapfrog to the BS VI standards, being a signatory to Conference of Parties protocol on combating climate change. Over and above the BS VI norms target, the energy department has shown a clear commitment to move to an electric-only future for automobiles by 2030 with the announcement of the FAME scheme (Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of Hybrid and Electric Vehicles in India).

The struggles of on-ground execution, though, remain herculean for automakers who are scrambling to upgrade engine technology in time to meet the deadlines for the next BS norms update. As compliance with BS VI would require changes in the engine system itself, it is being seen as one of the most mammoth R&D projects undertaken by the Indian automotive industry in recent times. Relative to BS IV, BS VI norms mandate a reduction of particulate matter by 82% and of oxides of nitrogen (NOx) by 68%.

Emission control in fuel based two-wheelers can be tackled on several fronts. Amongst post-emission solutions, catalytic converters are highly effective. Catalytic converters transform exhaust emissions into less harmful compounds. They can be especially effective in removing hydrocarbons, nitrous oxides and carbon monoxide from the exhaust.

At the engine level itself, engine oil additives are helpful in reducing emissions. Anti-wear additives, friction modifiers, high performance fuel additives and more lead to better performance, improved combustion and a longer engine life. The improvement in the engine’s efficiency as a result directly correlates to lesser emissions over time. Fuel economy of a vehicle is yet another factor that helps determine emissions. It can be optimised by light weighting, which lessens fuel consumption itself. Light weighting a vehicle by 10 pounds can result in a 10-15-pound reduction of carbon dioxide emissions each year. Polymer systems that can bear a lot of stress have emerged as reliable replacements for metals in automotive construction.

BASF, the pioneer of the first catalytic converter for automobiles, has been at the forefront of developing technology to help automakers comply with advancing emission norms while retaining vehicle performance and cost-efficiency. Its new state-of-the-art manufacturing facility at Mahindra World City near Chennai is equipped to develop a range of catalysts for diverse requirements, from high performance and recreational bikes to economy-oriented basic transportation. BASF also leverages its additives expertise to provide compounded lubricant solutions, such as antioxidants, anti-wear additives and corrosion inhibitors and more. At the manufacturing level, BASF’s R&D in engineered material systems has led to the development of innovative materials that are much lighter than metals, yet just as durable and strong. These can be used to manufacture mirror brackets, intake pipes, step holders, clutch covers, etc.

With innovative solutions on all fronts of automobile production, BASF has been successfully collaborating with various companies in making their vehicles emission compliant in the most cost-effective way. You can read more about BASF’s innovations in two-wheeler emission control here, lubricant solutions here and light weighting solutions here.

This article was produced by the Scroll marketing team on behalf of BASF and not by the Scroll editorial team.