The term leaves some hotter than the exhaust pipe of a Zipcar, and others colder than a Russian Airbnb apartment in the depths of December. But the fact is that the sharing economy isn’t going anywhere. A new independent review, released today, puts the movement firmly on the financial map of the future.
PwC have calculated that the sharing economy will be worth £9 billion a year in the UK by 2025. There is a growing number of people renting out their spare room with Airbnb, their driveway with JustPark, their time with Economy of Hours or TaskHub, their pets with BorrowMyDoggy, and pretty much any other asset or service you can put a name to. Definitely not one to be swept under the carpet.
The report, commissioned by the UK government and masterminded by Debbie Wosskow of LoveHomeSwap, seeks to shed light on the as yet unlit. In her words, it is the beginning – not the end – of the conversation.
Of the report’s 30 recommendations, there are 3 biggies
- The establishment of a new UK trade body – a sharing economy industry association – to help navigate the stormy waters of data privacy, dispute resolution and insurance issues.
- To expand on the latter, 75% of the 1000 stakeholders who were consulted for the review emphasised the importance of insurance as a barrier to engagement. The question of insurance is a thorn in the side of many sharing economy businesses, who struggle to negotiate what they need from insurers as the framework simply isn’t there.
- To create a guide to taxation in the sharing economy, quashing the current fog of confusion around allowances and declaration requirements.
You can read the full report in all its 43-page glory right here. For those with less time on their hands, allow us to quote – completely without bias, of course – our favourite bit:
The government recently updated its guidance to local authorities to clarify that homeowners do not need planning permission to rent out their driveways. This has meant that driveways can be used much more efficiently – allowing homeowners to make extra money, and providing much needed parking to visitors, particularly in areas where there is a shortage.
However, local authorities often do not take the same approach to non-residential parking spaces, such as those owned by small businesses and churches, and will insist that planning permission is sought before allowing it. The same arguments in favour of allowing driveways to be rented out should apply here – these are existing spaces that would otherwise be underused, and can provide much-needed parking options (as well as income to their owners).
Recommendation: The government should issue guidance to local authorities to allow non-residential properties to rent out their existing parking spaces without requiring explicit planning permission.”
Amen to that.
As always, for all your parking needs, we’re waiting in the wings.
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