Whatever your views on the forthcoming European Parliament elections, there are key issues that need to be tackled and reforms that need to be made if small businesses are grow and flourish.

After all, Europe’s 23.8 million small firms are the heartbeat of their respective economies. That’s why it is so important for policymakers in Brussels to do everything they can to help these entrepreneurs to grow and flourish.

For the UK, the Federation of Small Businesses has put forward a plan on behalf of our own 5.6 million small businesses. It sets out clear steps that the European Parliament and incoming European Commission could take to enhance trade and productivity, increase on-line security and promote diversity and inclusion for all.

Key measures include: prohibiting persistent late payers from all future public procurement contracts ; ensuring all future and revised trade agreements contain a comprehensive small business chapter; making existing skills initiatives and policies more inclusive of smaller businesses and sole traders; adopting strict rules on regulatory changes to help limit the cumulative burden on small businesses; improving the law enforcement response to cyber crime; and growing and supporting women in enterprise.

With increasing global competition, rapid technological change, chronic productivity challenges and rising costs, many of our small firms are facing some of the toughest business conditions they have ever faced.

In fact, Small businesses across Europe, not just in the UK, need support to better deal with these challenges. It is up to our politicians and policymakers to create the best possible conditions to allow our small firms to continue creating jobs, unlocking growth and driving innovation that benefits everyone.

Our small business plan for Europe offers a roadmap to delivering this and we hope that MEPs from across Europe back it.