Skip to main content
Rebordering Britain & Britons after Brexit

'If we do not have the pickers, we do not have the industry' Rural UK under a Brexit shadow


A 2016 referendum in the United Kingdom narrowly voted for the country to leave the European Union, a decision labelled Brexit. This chapter explores some potential consequences of Brexit for the rural UK and its people under four headings. First, from an economic angle, withdrawal from the Common Agricultural Policy and other EU support for rural businesses is evaluated. Second, Brexit’s likely reduction in numbers of EU-originating international labour migrants, both seasonal and longer term, is discussed and shown as already having impacts, especially noted for certain types of agriculture work. Third, and thinking to the future, attention focuses on how international labour migrants’ everyday lives within the rural may change with Brexit, especially in terms of settlement in place. Fourth, and drawing previous analysis together, it is proposed that a ‘revanchist rural’ expression has grown in the UK with Brexit. This further challenges the status of and ambition for the UK countryside to be a diverse, welcoming, and modern space, not least for labour migrants.


Keith Halfacree (United Kingdom)

Article meta

Country / region covered

Population studied

Year of Publication

Source type