The UK government is looking to “open doors” for the sharing economy and make the country a global centre for businesses such as Airbnb and ZipCar.
It seems a slightly out of left-field move for a government not usually known for disrupting the status quo but perhaps it’s thinking of the potential revenue of the sector.
Revenue from the sharing economy could reach £9 billion in the UK economy by 2025 and £230 billion globally, according to research published in August by PwC.
It is also set to hit 50% market share in some sectors including holiday rentals.
PwC goes on to say that the UK is positioning itself to take advantage of the growth and success of these peer-to-peer startups with ‘plans to remove laws controlling short-term rentals.’
A statement from the Department for Business, Innovation & Skills says an “independent review” is being launched of the sharing economy.
Seems a little odd that such an independent review is being, in fact, led by Debbie Wosskow, chief executive of sharing economy home rental startup Love Home Swap (Tlabs here).
But, don’t worry, the review team will work with a “wide range of stakeholders” including established businesses looking to take a more collaborative approach and mainstream businesses “facing competition” from the startups.
And, the remit of the review is to:
explore the benefits to the UK economy (and assess risks to ‘traditional businesses) understand the issues faced by sharing economy businesses understand the regulatory burdens (cue can of worms opening up) understand barriers to digital trust
The statement cites examples such as easyClubCar helping owners rent out their car when they are not using it – on average 23 hours a day.
Wosskow’s role will be to “unpick the policies and regulations” surrounding the sharing economy and formulate a way forward for the country to become the global centre.
Business and Enterprise minister Matthew Hancock says:
“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.”
In San Francisco, the birthplace of businesses such as Airbnb and Sidecar, a Sharing Economy Working Group was established in March 2012 to look at the benefits of the emerging companies and try and address policy issues.
The findings of the UK review are expected to be published before the end of the year.
NB: Growing revenue image via Shutterstock.