The Chancellor is understood to have pushed MI5 and MI6 to consider devoting more money and manpower to defending Britain from cyber attacks and espionage from countries such as China.
British intelligence agencies' counter-terrorism work could be scaled back after an intervention from George Osborne.
However, senior ministers and officials are resisting pressure from the Treasury, warning that cutting counter-terrorism spending is too much of a risk.
MI6, the Secret Intelligence Service, is said to be fighting a fierce rearguard action against any move to reallocate its counter-terrorism resources. Theresa May, the Home Secretary, is also said to be cautious about relaxing Britain's defences against extremist attacks.