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Government launches independent review into the sharing economy

Date: Thu, 2 Oct 2014 | Author: Paul Sanderson

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How the UK economy can benefit from models such as sharing power tools and other services is to be the subject of an independent investigation.

Commissioned by the Government, Love Home Swap chief executive Debbie Wosskow (pictured) will lead the review.

Technology-based business models that help people share their property, time and skills are revolutionising traditional sharing practices and building a new wave of everyday entrepreneurs, according to the Government.

From carpooling, to house swapping and time sharing, the sharing economy is empowering people to hire our their power drills and spare rooms and get the most from their assets.

It is estimated that 25 per cent of UK adults are sharing online, and current global revenues of around £9 billion could reach £230 billion per year by 2025. The sharing economy is estimated to reach 50 per cent market share in key sectors such as holiday accommodation and car-sharing/car rental by 2025.

The review, commissioned by Business and Enterprise Minister Matthew Hancock, will be based on the following remit:

  • Challenge and define the concept of the sharing economy
  • Explore the potential benefits of the sharing economy to the UK, as well as any risks it may pose to traditional industries
  • Understand the main issues faced by businesses within the sharing economy, such as the role of insurance policies on new firms like Airbnb
  • Understand the regulatory burdens faced by sharing economy companies
  • Understand the barriers to digital trust
  • Understand how the sharing economy can reach its potential in the UK.

 

Behind the review is the idea of making the most of our resources. For example, the average car sits idle for 23 hours a day or the average power drill is used for an estimated 12 to 13 minutes over its entire lifetime.

Matthew Hancock said: “The sharing economy is disrupting existing markets and changing the face of business. By opening doors for everyday entrepreneurs to trade directly with each other online, these new market places are driving down costs and pushing the frontiers of innovation.

“Debbie Wosskow will unpick the policies and regulations that surround the sharing economy and present a route map for making the UK the global centre for the sharing economy.

“These new business models put money into households the length and breadth of the country by helping them get the most from their spare assets and get the best price in the market.

“There’s huge economic potential for the sharing economy and I want to make sure that the UK is front and centre of that, competing with San Francisco to be the home of these young tech start-ups.

“By backing the sharing economy, we’re backing the innovators, the competitors and the agitators. We’re making sure that Britain is at the forefront of progress and by future proofing our economy, we’re helping to protect the next generation.”

Debbie Wosskow added: “With increasing UK economic impact, the opportunity is great for companies big and small – and for individuals all across the country to turn themselves into successful ‘sharing economy’ micro-entrepreneurs.

“I’m excited to lead this review for the Government and look forward to working closely with a wide range of organisations throughout the process on all sides of the conversation.

“The focus of the review will be on three well-established areas – personal and commercial space, transport, and time and skill sharing. It will also look at sectors where there is significant growth potential, including fashion, food and personal items such as power tools.”

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