Business Secretary Sajid Javid launches SEUK and Airbnb Productivity Report

Authored by leading economist Diane Coyle, ‘The Sharing Economy in the UK’ calls for changes to the measurement of productivity statistics

Monday 25th January 2015, London: Business Secretary Sajid Javid will today launch ‘The Sharing Economy in the UK’, a report commissioned by the UK sharing economy trade body, Sharing Economy UK (‘SEUK’) and Airbnb. Authored by leading economist Diane Coyle, the report looks at whether traditional measures of productivity adequately capture the economic impact of the sharing economy, and ultimately makes recommendations for how to modernise measurement of the UK’s economic health.

This report ties in to the Government’s Productivity Plan, announced as part of the 2014 Summer Budget, which aims to tackle the UK’s long-term productivity problem. The report argues for the need to question current economic measurement tools – such as GDP – as part of the present debate around productivity performance. The report concludes that the peer-to-peer nature of the sharing economy has created a ‘measurement gap’. It calls for changes to official economic data collection to focus more on individuals, accurately reflecting the increasing overlap between ‘the economy’ and everyday life.

Debbie Wosskow, Chair of SEUK and founder and CEO of Love Home Swap, commented: “UK policymakers are global leaders in encouraging the growth of the sharing economy and sharing microentrepreneurs. We know that the way Britain works is changing, driven by technology, a blurring of the lines between work and home, and modern attitudes about formal work, side-projects and freelancing. Yet, we also know that the UK’s productivity levels are some of the worst in Europe. This is why SEUK and Airbnb approached Diane Coyle, asking her to investigate the link between the UK’s sharing economy, productivity and economic measurement.”

“Ultimately, better data will make for a more informed policy debate. I thank Diane for the work she has done in making recommendations around modernising economic measurements, which we hope will play an important role in shaping Government work, making the UK the home of the global sharing economy.”

Diane Coyle, OBE, professor of economics at the University of Manchester, commented: “I have long been interested in the way we define and measure economies and as such was delighted to undertake this research on behalf of SEUK and Airbnb. It is clear to me that traditional measures of productivity cannot adequately capture the economic impact of the sharing economy, in part because GDP figures do not take into account economic benefits such as time saved, increased choice and lower cost of products – all of which are key consumer benefits of using the sharing economy.”

“In order to modernise economic statistics, this report argues that changes be made to ONS data collection, in order to fully understand the scale and impact of the sharing economy.”

Sajid Javid, Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills commented: “Innovative businesses in the sharing economy give consumers more choice and put money in the pockets of ordinary people across the country. This is why the government wants the UK to be a welcoming place for new ideas and a beacon for innovation. This new report raises interesting questions about whether traditional measurements can reflect the true value of these modern businesses to our economy, as well as the role they can play in boosting productivity.”


About Sharing Economy UK

Sharing Economy UK (‘SEUK’) is the trade body representing and championing the UK’s sharing economy industry – from some of the world’s most influential sharing economy businesses to innovative and industry-defining start-ups, across a spectrum of sectors. 

The sharing economy involves using Internet technologies to connect distributed groups of people and organisations to make better use of goods, skills, services, capital and spaces, sharing ‘access’ and so reducing the need for ‘ownership’.

The aims of SEUK are to:

  • Champion the sector – making the UK the global home of the sharing economy
  • Ensure best practice – establishing a trustmark for responsible sharing practices for both businesses and consumers
  • Act as a single voice – recognising the shared challenges facing member businesses and developing innovative responses

SEUK works closely with Government, representing the sharing economy community and calling for changes to better protect both consumers and sharing economy businesses.

Members sign up to a central code of conduct and are currently working with the Skoll Centre for Social Entrepreneurship at Oxford University’s Saïd Business School (SBS) to develop the world's first comprehensive ‘trustmark’ for responsible sharing practice.

SEUK was launched in March 2015 following a Government-commissioned independent review, entitled ‘Unlocking the UK’s Sharing Economy’, which was written by Debbie Wosskow, founder of Love Home Swap, in November 2014.

About Airbnb

Founded in August of 2008 and based in San Francisco, California, Airbnb is a trusted community marketplace for people to list, discover, and book unique accommodations around the world – online or from a mobile phone. Whether an apartment for a night, a castle for a week, or a villa for a month, Airbnb connects people to unique travel experiences, at any price point, in more than 34,000 cities and more than 190 countries. And with world-class customer service and a growing community of users, Airbnb is the easiest way for people to monetize their extra space and showcase it to an audience of millions.