DEFRA to receive 10 per cent budget cut - shale gas and flood defence take priority

The Department of Energy and Climate Change will take an eight per cent hit, while the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs will have budgets cut by 10 per cent.

The chancellor has embraced shale gas, saying he will make the tax and planning changes to help Britain exploit it. The changes will facilitate around £100bn of private investment in energy.

Flood defence will also take priority.