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Helen Belcher has been re-selected as the Liberal Democrat candidate for Chippenham

Helen joined the Liberal Democrats in May 2015 as, in her own words, it was time to fight for the liberal values that this
country was built on. Events since then have made her even more determined.

Helen Belcher Lib Dems

Since she was first selected in the summer of 2016, she has worked on issues affecting residents across the constituency, such as preserving community facilities in local towns, supporting childcare providers and undertaking case work.

She has fought for proper funding of schools since 2014 and campaigned for improvements to NHS services for many years.

Helen has a long history campaigning for LGBT equality and press regulation. A renowned campaigner and businesswoman, she is often asked to write pieces in the press and give keynote speeches at conferences on media and the law. She gave evidence to the Leveson Inquiry in February 2012, and also to Parliamentary Inquiries in September 2015 and December 2017.

She was recognised by the Independent on Sunday as one of the most influential LGBT people in the UK for three years running.

She founded her own software company in 2004, and has managed its growth since then. A qualified teacher who continues to have a keen interest in education, she has also served as a secondary school governor for 8 years. She has two adult children, and has been happily married for 24 years.

Education, the environment, justice and equality are all important to Helen. She also enjoys choral singing and the performance arts.

Where Helen stands on the key issues

- Tackling the Climate Emergency

'The environment was one of the two key reasons why I started voting Liberal and Liberal Democrat in the 1980s. We only have the one planet - there is no planet B - so we must ensure that we treat it properly for our children's and grandchildren's sakes. We must eliminate carbon from the fuel we use as quickly as possible. This means investing in green energy, such as wind, solar and tidal power, as well as rolling out a programme to insulate everyone's home efficiently within the next 10 years. We must provide more and better integrated public transport at a cost that people can afford, as well as significantly increase the take-up of electrically powered vehicles. We must plant more trees - at least 40,000 hectares each year - and preserve carbon stocks like peatlands. We also need to address the growing crisis in biodiversity, such as working with overseas governments to reduce monocultures as well as preserving and restoring damaged ecosystems.

- Funding our NHS and social care properly by a "ring fenced" 1p rise in income tax

'Our NHS is in a serious trouble. GPs have been pleading for government help as surgeries are closed and doctors driven to despair. A&E departments are stretched to breaking point. Yet the Conservatives have squeezed budgets, demoralised staff and ignored the advice of experts. On top of that they have barely touched on mental health and left social care services close to collapse. Now, they say they will only give social care to patients with particular illnesses while others are left to pay for themselves. This is not just unacceptable, it is totally unnecessary and cruel. The Liberal Democrats in Government will add 1p on income tax to go into a dedicated NHS and social care fund. This will provide a vital 6 billion a year. Vote Liberal Democrat if you want to stop the Tories plundering the value of your homes as you get older, and secure the future of our NHS.'

- Proper Funding for Schools

'Local schools are under threat from a Conservative party that has stopped listening to local people across Wiltshire. Conservatives proposed £5million of cuts to schools across the constituency, meaning fewer teachers, bigger class sizes and less options for our children. Education is a key investment in our future. Short-changing our children and students now has massive effects for the future. It's not just a question of divvying up the pot more fairly - the pot also needs to be bigger.'

- Brexit

'It's becoming clearer by the day that the promised post-Brexit land of milk and honey (or was it cake) is just a mirage. Businesses are moving jobs away from Britain, and foreign investment into our country has plummetted. Across the constituency, which was evenly split in 2016, people are telling me they're afraid of what the future holds. My own business has lost money because of the referendum result, and we have at least 1,500 people across the constituency whose future rights are in doubt. I know slightly more people across the country voted Leave than Remain in 2016, and I don't blame people for taking the Leavers' promises at face value. But democracy didn't stop on 24 June 2016, and we deserve the right to think again if a disaster is looming. That's why I campaigned for a Peoples Vote in 2017, and am still campaigning for a Peoples Vote. The Liberal Democrats and I believe that the people - all of us - should have the right to say yes or no to what we are offered. If we really don't like it, we should be allowed to stay in the EU. If we ever get a deal, those promoting it should have the confidence that the people support it, and not rely on the result of a referendum which is appearing increasingly flawed.'

- The Real Party for Business

'As someone who has set up and grown a successful business from nothing, I see the Liberal Democrats as the natural party of business. We will invest in innovation, people and infrastructure - building homes, modernising schools and hospitals, and developing hyperfast broadband and transport networks. We will support entrepreneurs and researchers to thrive in a vibrant knowledge-based economy.'

- A Leader not a Follower

'Many people in Chippenham who voted Conservative in the last general election have expressed fear about the direction in which the Conservatives are heading. They are horrified that extreme UKIP policies, such as the "hostile environment" for immigrants, have been adopted by the Conservative leadership pushing out people who are open and inclusive. I have a history of standing up to the powerful. I will not bow down to government policies that I believe are wrong and un-British. Vote for me and the Liberal Democrats and I will put Chippenham before Whitehall.'


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