The UK has delivered a detailed review of the sharing economy this week in light of the disruptive business models that are transforming many of its core sectors. Minister of State for Business, Enterprise and Energy Matthew Hancock has welcomed Debbie Wosskow’s independent review, ‘Unlocking the sharing economy,’ which encourages a new way of doing business.
The review focuses on the core of innovation policy in the UK by recommending the creation of an Innovation Lab to foster new businesses and support research into sharing. This would include targeted financing for sharing economy services and links with the Office for National Statistics to measure corresponding economic impact. Matthew Hancock explains,
“Where other countries and cities are closing down consumer choice, and limiting people’s freedom to make better use of their possessions, we are embracing it.”
The review thus focuses on burgeoning markets for sharing such as accommodation, while also identifying growth potential in fashion, food and personal items.
Wosskow goes on to identify many of the issues that have plagued the sharing economy including trust and identity and insurance coverage. The report recommends that the UK government builds on its identity verification system, GOV.UK Verify, by making it available to private sector services including companies like Uber and Airbnb in 2015. Wosskow also encourages sharing economy companies to create a trade body representative of all sectors and to pool resources to jointly negotiate broader insurance coverage.
The UK government will respond to the report in full in early 2015. For now, it looks like San Francisco might have a new competitor for the title of the world’s leading sharing economy.
Wosskow’s independent review can be viewed from GOV.UK.