Government Report Released Today 'Misses the Point'

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A government report on the UK's sharing economy 'misses the point', according to Liftshare's Ali Clabburn

The founder of the UK’s sharing economy, Ali Clabburn, has lambasted a report commissioned by Rt Hon Matthew Hancock MP (Minster of State for Business Enterprise and Energy) which was released today saying it “undervalues the sharing economy”.

The report(1) focuses on how the sharing economy is an exciting new area of the economy and that digital innovation is creating new ways of doing business. But Clabburn says that the sharing economy has been hijacked by capitalists who are using the term ‘sharing economy’ when what they are actually doing is trading, not sharing.

“It’s a well written report about the rental economy but the Government clearly doesn’t understand what the sharing economy is and the scale and value of real sharing around the UK”, said Clabburn.

He continued: “Government must now determine the difference between sharing and renting. The report is an example of how the government muddles the two - if people treated their car seats in the same way as people on AirBnB treat their spare rooms they would be breaking the law.”

Clabburn’s social enterprise business model, Liftshare, aims to help everyone, including the most vulnerable people in society to help solve transport poverty, social isolation and unemployment in rural areas and says that the companies dominating the media in the sector shouldn’t sit in the sharing economy space: “They are disruptive businesses that deserve to succeed but they don’t embrace the sharing economy ethos. If there’s profit involved then it’s not sharing – it’s renting," said Clabburn.

Clabburn, who was involved in the consultation process but stepped back from the report, said it has missed the point: “What the government should have done is to create a report that recognises the value to society of the sharing economy and the potential there is to do good for the whole of society including the unemployed, the socially isolated and those who cannot afford to use their cars because of the cost.

"This report is basically a handbook to encourage people to brand trading or renting as being part of the sharing economy – it misses the point because by their measure a B&B is part of the sharing economy when it’s clearly not.

"I’m all for innovation, helping start-ups and growing the economy but I’ve spent the last 16 years trying to encourage people to share wasted resources to help the planet, encourage communities to work together and allow vulnerable people to access what they need without others making a profit from them.”

Notes to Editors:

1. Report: https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/378291/bis-14-1227-unlocking-the-sharing-economy-an-independent-review.pdf

PR Contact:

To arrange an interview with Ali Clabburn, please contact:

Emma Cook
Communications Manager, Liftshare.com
07749 574361
emma(at)liftshare(dot)com

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Emma Cook