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The Coalition wants Britain to lead the world’s sharing economy

The government has launched an independent review of the sharing economy, with the aim of making Britain the industry’s “global centre”.

The review will seek to define the sharing economy and understand the legal, regulatory and social barriers for businesses, and will be led by Debbie Wosskow, the CEO of Love Home Swap.

It was announced by Business and Enterprise Minister Matthew Hancock at the Conservative Party conference, and is scheduled to be completed by December 2014.

UK ‘route map’

Mr Hancock said the review would “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”.

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 startups.

The announcement also cited estimates that the sharing economy is estimated to reach 50% market share in key sectors such as holiday accommodation and car-sharing/car rental by 2025.

Review lead Debbie Wosskow said the focus of the review will be on three “well-established” areas – personal and commercial space; transport; and time and skill sharing – as well as sectors with “significant growth potential”, including fashion, food and personal items.

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.

The remit

The review will make recommendations 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.

The full review brief can be viewed here, and from 29 September to 28 October you can submit your views to the consultation here.