Gov't wants to better regulate sharing economy

Henk Kamp (Picture: Wikimedia Commons/ (Henk Kamp (Picture: Wikimedia Commons/

Minister Henk Kamp of Economic Affairs is working with other ministries and the private sector to look for ways to give innovative technology based companies such as Uber and Airbnb more space to develop within the legislation.

This is according to a letter that the Minister sent to the Tweede Kamer, lower house of parliament, on Monday, the Financieele Dagblad reports.

Kamp feels that because current rules and regulations are often based on old manufacturing techniques and sales channels, the government sometimes unwittingly stands in the way of these innovative companies. This stands in the way of growth.

Prime examples of this happening is the current uncertainty surrounding services like Airbnb and UberPOP. UberPOP is currently fighting the Taxi Act in the Netherlands, under which the service is illegal as it involves individuals driving customers around for a fee without a taxi permit. Current legislation also causes much uncertainty on whether it is legal to rent out a room through private rental website Airbnb.

"If we want to reap the first benefits of such innovation in the Netherlands, then we need to provide space for it in our rules", Kamp said to the FD in response to the letter to the Kamer. "Through this our innovative entrepreneurs get a chance to continue to develop better products and services, which ensures that new businesses and jobs are created here rather than elsewhere." Kamp has therefore been working with other ministries and the private sector to provide this needed extra space.

In May the Ministry of Infrastructure and Environment announced that the rules for taxis are being eased to encourage innovation in the industry. Taxi drivers will soon no longer be required to carry a paper taxi licence or physical rate card, as digital alternatives are available. The taximeter in the car will also no longer be a requirement, if a fixed amount has been agreed upon with the customer.

Kamp and Minister Stef Blok of Housing is also looking at the rules and regulations surrounding private room rentals to tourists. The increasing number of households renting their homes or part of their homes to tourists are good for the hospitality economy, according to the Minister. But a way has to be found to counteract the annoyance caused to neighbors and the loss of business to rental homes in the housing sector.