This chapter introduces the scope and purpose of the book, which presents original research and analysis to fill a gap in our understanding of how poverty and social exclusion affect rural lives following the financial crisis, austerity, Brexit and the COVID-19 pandemic. This chapter sketches the context for this study in terms of national policies, including fiscal tightening, labour market flexibilisation, welfare reform and other ‘roll-back’ and ‘roll-out’ forms of neoliberalisation and the lack of any coherent strategy to ensure the wellbeing of rural citizens. Finally, the chapter explains the methods used in this study.
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