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Further cuts for Defra

Defra will be among the departments facing new budget cuts in the next two years, it has emerged from the Autumn Statement, in which there was no mention of landfill tax.

Chancellor George Osborne told the Commons he was cutting both contingency and departmental budgets.

“We can be confident in reducing the contingency reserve by £1bn this year, and reducing departmental budget by a similar amount in the next two years. This will allow us to save a further £3bn in total”, he said.

Osborne noted that most departments were expected to underspend by £7bn this year following what he called “tight discipline”.

Departments excluded from the measure were health, education, security and intelligence services, and HMRC and local government.

“We will also not apply this additional savings to local government because we expect them to freeze the council tax next year,” said Osborne.

The Chancellor did not mention any change to landfill tax in his speech. (Update: the Treasury later told MRW it would come in the 2014 Budget)

Increases in business rates in England and Wales will be capped at 2%, instead of being linked to inflation and expected to rise by 3.2%.

BBC summary of key points of the Autumn Statement

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