eBay for Small Business

eBay gives voice to British Online Businesses by launching Online Business Manifesto

Policy makers warned of issues that will need to be addressed to help online businesses grow

eBay, the UK’s number one e-commerce site, has today launched its online business manifesto, Backing Online Business, giving the thousands of British businesses who operate online a voice in the run up to the 2010 general election.

The digital economy is worth some £125billion a year to the UK, according to government estimates. The Backing Online Business manifesto has been developed to ensure that the next UK government implements the policies required to enable these businesses to compete and succeed, making the biggest possible contribution to the economic recovery.

The manifesto sets out five critical areas of focus for online businesses, and makes a number of recommendations of how policy makers can ensure that the UK economy as a whole thrives. These areas of focus are:

  • Supporting the digital economy by ensuring that EU e-commerce laws continue to provide a simple and stable trading environment for online businesses; the appointment of a minister with dedicated responsibility for online business; and open access to the internet for content and application providers on the basis of non-discrimination and minimum quality of service standards for broadband access.
  • Protecting consumer choice by ensuring a robust legal framework to take action against brand owners which try to block unfairly the sale of their goods on the internet or on certain websites; combat price-fixing by providing for tougher investigation and enforcement against resale price maintenance; and making consumer protection rules across Europe more consistent in order to make it easier for online businesses to export.
  • Improving postal services by maintaining access to local post offices for online SMEs and buyers in communities throughout the country; encouraging competition for parcels under 2kg, while protecting Royal Mail’s ability to provide a universal service; and encouraging innovative delivery services in response to emerging consumer needs – for example, evening and weekend deliveries, nominated-time deliveries, and collection from local post offices.
  • Investing in digital infrastructure by ensuring that the roll-out of next generation broadband meets the ‘final third’ of homes and small businesses; by working with mobile phone networks to improve mobile broadband coverage and speed in order to boost the growth of mobile retail; and by promoting the development of a national network of free wi-fi hotspots through cafes, restaurants and other businesses.
  • Helping online businesses grow – by forcing banks to ease restrictions on lending; keeping business taxes low; and improving the quality of business advice and business mentoring, and making it easier to understand the different forms of support available.

The Backing Online Business manifesto has been sent to the prospective parliamaentary candidates for each of the main political parties, in every parliamentary constituency in the UK, to ensure that policy makers in the new Parliament understand the importance of the digital economy for British business, and are aware of the challenges and opportunities e-commerce brings.

The Backing Online Business manifesto has been launched on the first anniversary of eBay’s Online Business Index - an industry recognised barometer of the performance of British businesses trading on the internet.

Vanessa Canzini, eBay Europe’s Head of Corporate Communications, Europe, said: “The 2010 General Election will play a crucial role in determining Britain’s economic future. Whichever party voters elect, it is essential that the next government puts the policies in place that are needed to enable the economy to thrive.

“With the digital economy contributing some 10% of Britain’s GDP according to government figures, it is vital that the next government backs online businesses and implements the policies needed for them to succeed.

“This manifesto is a further development of eBay’s Online Business Index, which along with our our campaign to protect consumer choice on the internet, ensures we are at the forefront of championing issues that matter to online businesses.”