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This week’s roundup includes news that UK car production is being hit by a ‘perfect storm’ of adverse factors, Dixons Carphone has revealed 10 million customers were hit by its data breach in June and the decline in the use of cash is to be subject to a new consumer review. 

UK car production hit by ‘perfect storm’

The number of cars made in the UK fell last month after domestic demand plunged due to what the industry body called a ‘perfect storm of events’.

Production fell 5.5% in June - driven by a 47.2% drop in production for the UK market, according to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).

The SMMT blamed preparation for new emissions tests and new car models for what it said was a ‘one-month anomaly’. Longer term, UK car production was as expected, the industry body said.

SMMT chief executive Mike Hawes said June's figures ‘demonstrate the risks of judging automotive performance one month in isolation, with numerous and varied factors creating a perfect storm for home market output’.

The SMMT said last month that investment in the industry had fallen by half with Brexit uncertainty ‘thwarting’ decisions by major car companies to put more money into UK factories. But Hawes has said that the UK's government's latest Brexit proposals were ‘a step in the right direction’.

Dixons Carphone says data breach affected 10 million

Dixons Carphone has said a huge data breach that took place last year involved 10 million customers, up from its original estimate of 1.2 million.

The Carphone Warehouse and Currys PC World owner has been investigating the hack since it was discovered in June.

It said personal information, names, addresses and email addresses may have been accessed last year. However, no bank details were stolen, and it found no evidence that fraud had resulted from the breach.

Dixons said it was ‘very sorry for any distress’ caused and it would be apologising to customers, although it did not say how or over what timescale it would be contacting them.

Dixons added it had been working with leading cyber security experts and had put in further security measures to safeguard customer information.

The National Crime Agency began investigating the breach last month when it was first revealed. It is working with the National Cyber Security Centre, the Financial Conduct Authority and the UK's data protection regulator, the Information Commissioner's Office.

Dash to drop cash comes under review

As the use of cash declines and digital payments increase, a new independent review has been set up to look at the impact on consumers.

The Access to Cash Review will look at the impact of new technology, including contactless cards, over the next five to 15 years and examine future needs.

It will be chaired by the former head of the Financial Ombudsman Service, Natalie Ceeney, who said there was a need to make sure no-one was left behind.

She added: ’Many people in the UK have already made a shift to paying for most things digitally, but at the same time, there are between two and three million people across the UK who are entirely reliant on cash.’

The review is funded by Link, the UK's biggest network of cash machines, but is independent from it. It will spend the next six months gathering information.

Link said consumer groups, community representatives, small businesses, industry and the general public would all be able to contribute their views.

House of Fraser in rescue talks with Mike Ashley

Advisers to House of Fraser (HoF) are courting Mike Ashley, the Sports Direct tycoon, to fund an emergency £50m deal to stave off the ailing department store chain's collapse.

According to reports, bankers acting for the retailer, which is trying to force through the closure of dozens of shops and thousands of jobs being axed, held initial talks with Mr Ashley's executives late last week.

A source close to HoF said on Monday evening that Rothschild, which is advising HoF, had been approached by Mr Ashley about providing new funding, potentially in the form of a loan or equity injection.

The move follows the disclosure that a £70m capital injection into HoF from the Chinese owner of Hamleys, the toy store, would be delayed for several months.

Sources said that a secured loan from Mr Ashley's Sports Direct International, which owns an 11% stake in HoF, was one of a number of options now being explored.

Earlier this month, Sports Direct said it was ‘willing to structure a transaction on similar terms (subject to due diligence to confirm the level of investment/cash injection required’.