Here are the stories making the business headlines in Scotland and across the UK this morning.

UK economy at risk of recession, official figures reveal

The UK economy has performed worse than previously thought and below the expectations of economists, new official figures show, meaning the country has taken the first step towards recession.

There's been a downward revision to GDP, a key measure of economic growth, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said on Friday morning.

Rather than remaining stagnant, as first thought, the economy contracted 0.1% in the three months from July to September.

Economists had been expecting growth of 0.2%.

Aberdeen City Council employee accused of embezzling more than £1 million

A man has appeared in court charged with embezzling more than £1 million from Aberdeen City Council.

Michael Paterson is alleged to have swindled the staggering seven-figure sum from the cash-strapped local authority over a number of years while an employee.

The 59-year-old – who is understood to have worked in the revenue and benefits department – appeared in private at Aberdeen Sheriff Court facing the single charge of embezzlement.

It comes as Aberdeen City Council’s controversial budget this year continues to make headlines.

Paterson, of Aberdeen, made no plea during the behind-closed-doors hearing.

Hunt hints at spring tax cuts if Britain’s debt bill falls

Jeremy Hunt has hinted at further tax cuts in the spring in the hope an anticipated fall in interest rates will lower the cost of servicing Britain’s debt.

The Chancellor described a faster-than-expected drop in inflation last month as “really good news”, adding that Downing Street was already eyeing further tax cuts.

His comments came as the Government borrowed more than expected last month, even as figures showed it took £77.6bn in receipts – the highest November total since records began in 1993. Workers are being forced to pay more tax because of a stealth grab by Mr Hunt.

In an interview with Bloomberg TV, Mr Hunt said: “Rishi Sunak and I have said that we would like to cut the tax burden more if we are able to do so.

“We would like to bring down the tax burden in a way that is responsible if we’re able to do so. But right now our priority is to bring down inflation.”

‘Accident waiting to happen’: Valaris fined £130,000 after North Sea crane catastrophe

Oil and gas drilling company Valaris has been fined £130,000 by an Aberdeen court following a North Sea crane boom collapse in 2016.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) said nobody was hurt in the incident on March 31 2016.

But a “chaotic scene ensued” after the collapse of the Rowan Gorilla VII (RGVII) crane’s boom, it said.

Video of the incident shows flying debris damaging a nearby vessel, whipping a hose out of control before it ruptured, leaving a cloud of cement dust.

HSE inspectors described the circumstances as an “accident waiting to happen”.

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