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Still bleeding: the variegated geographies of austerity and food banking in rural England and Wales

May, Jon, Williams, Andrew ORCID:, Cloke, Paul and Cherry, Liev 2020. Still bleeding: the variegated geographies of austerity and food banking in rural England and Wales. Journal of Rural Studies 79 , pp. 409-424. 10.1016/j.jrurstud.2020.08.024

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This paper builds on a nascent literature on rural austerity to explore the variegated geographies of austerity and food banking in rural areas of England and Wales. The paper makes three key contributions. First, drawing on a range of existing and newly updated datasets on local authority spending power and service spending, changes to welfare benefits, benefit sanctions, and local welfare assistance schemes we use the Office for National Statistics (ONS) 2011 Rural-Urban Classification of Local Authorities to provide the first comprehensive analysis of austerity in rural England and Wales. We outline the variegated nature of rural austerity and examine the ways in which new geographies of austerity are overwriting and compounding problems of rural poverty in the UK. Second, we combine newly available data from the Trussell Trust and Independent Food Aid Network to outline a geography of food banking in rural England and Wales, highlighting the uneven distribution of food aid across rural areas and discuss some of the problems rural locations pose to both those seeking and providing food aid. Third, drawing on interviews with food bank managers, volunteers and clients in two very different rural areas we examine how different rural contexts produce different experiences of and responses to poverty and food insecurity, paying particular attention to localised cultures of charity, welfare and deservingness. We conclude by setting out a new research agenda around which scholars might further explore the relationships between austerity, food insecurity and food banking in rural areas.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Geography and Planning (GEOPL)
Publisher: Elsevier
ISSN: 0743-0167
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 14 September 2020
Date of Acceptance: 11 August 2020
Last Modified: 09 Nov 2023 21:30

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