The UK wants to become one of the world’s major centers for the emerging sharing economy. Today, a review commissioned by the British government delivered a detailed roadmap for making that happen: a 43-page report containing 30 recommendations.
The report calls for everything from overhauling regulations to investing in public work projects to backing a sharing economy incubator and innovation lab. While the report no doubt faces a long road ahead before being officially adopted, let alone implemented, it indicates that the UK government is taking a serious look at the sharing economy’s impact and potential.
At a time when many countries, states, and municipalities are wrestling with whether to embrace these new businesses or place roadblocks in their way, the UK wants to make it clear that it’s rolling out the red carpet.
“The Sharing Economy is one of tremendous growth, both in the UK and around the world, and today’s report seeks to examine both the social and economic potential of these new businesses,” Debbie Wosskow, who led the sharing economy commission, said in statement. “There is a great opportunity here for the UK to be at the forefront of the global sharing economy.”
Wosskow also happens to be founder of the Collaborative Consumption Europe networking group and CEO of Love Home Swap, a home sharing business. While she’s long been an advocate for the sharing economy, the report makes clear that new services such as Airbnb and Hailo are having a major effect on the country.
The report says that 25% of UK adults are participating in some kind of sharing service online. And it projects that global revenue from the sharing economy could rise from $14 billion today to $361 billion in 2025.
To help the UK get its share of that growth, the report makes a long list of recommendations, including:
- Launch a startup incubator and innovation lab for the UK sharing economy supported by private and public money.
- Encourage UK job centers to help and encourage unemployed to consider work opportunities in these services.
- Reduce regulations in areas like accommodations to make it easier for individuals to rent out spare rooms.
- Create a trade group to monitor and advocate for sharing economy companies.
- Build more carpool lanes between cities that could be used by ride sharing cars to reduce the overall number of trips and automobiles on the road.
“The sharing economy is an exciting new area of the economy,” writes Matthew Hancock, the UK Minister of State for Business and Enterprise, in an introduction to the report. “Innovation is creating entirely new ways to do business. These new services are unlocking a new generation of microentrepreneurs.”
The UK government will study the report and deliver a full response in early 2015, Hancock, in a statement.
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