AN MP has accused ministers of sticking their heads in the sand over proposed changes to its charging policy which could have a devastating impact on industry in Teesside.

The energy regulator Ofgem has confirmed it will not introduce a short-haul tariff for gas transportation in October when the new pricing regulations come into play.

Businesses in Teesside currently benefit from the tariff in place, which charges according to the distance gas has to travel using the network, due to its proximity to the North Sea.

The new tariff is set to be applied from October 2020 to comply with EU regulations and will hit Teesside based companies especially hard.

Stockton North MP Alex Cunningham, who raised the issue in Parliament this week, said: "The impact on Teesside would be devastating. Local energy-intensive process industry firms, which employ many people from my Stockton North constituency, would lose out on millions of pounds each year with the reforms.

"Brexit and now the Covid-19 pandemic have left the industry already facing many uncertainties – these changes only add to the pressures faced and could result in total decimation of our local industries.

“Ofgem know these firms rely on the short haul tariff to remain profitable.

"Making Tees Valley firms pay millions more for the same services that they have been using for decades offers no benefit to anyone and is grossly unfair.

“I’ve submitted several written parliamentary questions on this matter with very little in the way of response from the Government - they are truly keeping their head in the sand over this issue. Ofgem may be an independent regulator but it is crucial they face robust scrutiny when their actions could have such a catastrophic effect, as this one will on areas like Teesside.

" It feels to me like the Government are simply passing the buck yet again.

“It is nonsensical to push through EU regulations after we have left. Once again, it is Teesside who loses out.”

He spoke in Parliament this week to ask a minister from the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy to make a statement on the impact of the decision and how government might help.

Earlier this year, Teesside businesses, including CF Fertilisers, Lucite International and Sembcorp, warned the change will cost them millions each year and will impact their ability to remain competitive.