Professor Mo Malek, a leading health economist in the UK, has recently released his research findings into the effects of a sliding tax scale on food producers, and believes he has found an answer to the Nation's growing trend towards weight gain; a 10p tax on fatty burgers.

"The problem of obesity has never been so accentuated. It has reached a critical point," said Malek. "The statistics for overweight and obese children under the age of 15 years and young adults are alarming. Between 1980 and 1994 the proportion of people officially classified as obese more than doubled."

In a move to combat this, Malek has issued proposals to the government that would mean an inflated price, for producers and consumers, of the fattier cuts of meat, and conversely encourage healthier and leaner fastfood.

A sliding tax system relies, however, on the tax benefits outweighing the current costs involved in better meat purchases, and any cost saving must of course be passed onto the consumer for trends to change.

At the Inland Revenue, a spokeswoman was reticent on the chances of such a tax proposal being passed as law. Surprising, considering that the treasury's coffers could potentially swell as much as the nation's overweight members who are arousing Malek's concern.