A four-point plan to improve the lot of small businesses has been unveiled by the Conservative party.
The plan, announced by shadow chancellor George Osborne, addresses areas the party believes are key to SMEs.
These include the need to a ask the Tax Reform Commission to consider aligning the period of charge for national insurance and income tax.
The Tories claim to want to make it easier for small businesses to bid for government contracts, tackle regulation and promote adult education.
"Small businesses are the lifeblood of our economy," Mr Osborne said.
"Not only do they employ over half of the entire UK workforce and generate over half of the total UK turnover, but they're also responsible for bringing new products and services to market, generating competition and expanding consumer choice. "I believe that Government should be helping those running small businesses, not making their lives harder, as this Chancellor has done. A new direction is needed - one that helps small companies grow, instead of strangling them at birth."
Mr Osborne was speaking at a meeting with Len Collinson, chairman of the Forum of Private Business (FPB) and chief executive, Nick Goulding.
Mr Collinson said it was time for a fresh approach on small business issues, but warned that the Conservatives needed to focus on all areas of training, not just adult education.
"There is a strong case for a new direction," he said.
"The FPB has always been supportive of aligning the period of charge for the national insurance and income tax systems.
"We encourage small businesses to take part in the provision of education at all levels, primary education is the starting point."