In September 2014, Matthew Hancock MP, the Business Minister, asked me to write a report on the sharing economy – and to make recommendations as to how the UK could become a global centre for this fast-growing sector.
The sharing economy allows people to share property, resources, time and skills across online platforms. This can unlock previously unused, or under-used assets – helping people make money from their empty spare room and the tools in their sheds they use once a year. It allows people to go from owning expensive assets, such as cars, to paying for them only when they need them. Individuals can make more from their skills, and work more flexibly.
There has been tremendous growth in the sharing economy in recent years, and this is set to continue. This is a huge opportunity for the UK, and our ambition should be to be the world’s leading sharing economy.
As with all disruption, we also need to be careful. Sharing economy businesses and traditional operators need to be treated fairly, particularly in terms of regulation. Consumers must be protected, and trust must be strengthened in online transactions. However, a degree of caution should not stop us from embracing the potential sharing offers for a new, more efficient and more flexible economy.
Much needs to happen if we are to realise this ambition:
- The government should embrace the opportunities offered by the sharing economy, both to make its own operations more efficient, and to make better use of public resources
- Regulations must be examined to ensure they are still fit for purpose and meet people’s expectations – particularly for accommodation and online task-sharing platforms
- We need to support start-ups in the sharing economy – by encouraging experimentation and innovation – and sharing what works
- The sharing economy itself needs to come together – to have a single voice on common concerns, and to set benchmarks and standards of service in order that consumers know what they can expect when they use these services.
Chosen excerpts by Job Market Monitor. Read the whole story at