A NORTH-EAST MP will today call on the Chancellor of the Exchequer to help safeguard jobs at a biofuels plant in the region.

In May, Ensus temporarily suspended production at its £250m facility at Wilton, on Teesside, after it was hit by cheap imports from the US and delays in implementing new EU green fuel directives.

Ian Swales, MP for Redcar, is introducing a private bill in the House of Commons, which includes a request for George Osborne to announce an independent report about supporting the production of domestic bioethanol.

US importers have flooded the UK market with a cheap imported ethanol, which takes advantage of loopholes in EU legislation to avoid tariffs.

Mr Swales intends to keep up pressure on his Coalition partners to protect UK jobs and hopes that a meeting of EU Commissioners scheduled for today will also support his efforts.

“This is not just about Ensus, it is about backing an industry which supports jobs across the country,” he said.

“What the US importers have done is clearly sharp practice. Germany protected its own industry by flatly refusing to take these imports from the US. In this country we tend towards more of a free trade approach. But in this case I think that we could have followed the German model and safeguarded our industry.”

After taking a delegation from Ensus to meet Transport Minister Norman Baker in June, Mr Swales is optimistic that the Government will make Britain’s voluntary Renewable Transport Fuels Obligation, a mandatory code before the end of the year.

“That will be a significant step forward as it will force oil companies to put bioethanol in petrol,” he added.

Mr Swales also wants biofuel taxes to measure the product according to its purity rather than by volume and called on the Government take a more joined-up approach towards renewables.

All 100 workers employed by Ensus at the Wilton site have been retained on full pay.