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Belize signs tax deal with UK

Britons in Belize will find it harder to avoid UK taxes after an agreement signed yesterday by the UK and Belize governments. It was welcomed by Labour MPs, because of the link between Belize and Lord Ashcroft, the deputy chairman of the Tory party.

Chancellor Alistair Darling's announcement of the agreement in his Budget statement yesterday drew cheers and laughter from Labour backbenchers.

Tory deputy chairman Lord Ashcroft admitted earlier this month that he has non-dom tax status, despite giving assurances that he would become a "permanent resident" in the UK when he was made a peer a decade ago.

Financial Secretary to the Treasury Stephen Timms and Belize High Commissioner Kamela Palma sealed the tax information exchange agreement at HM Revenue & Customs' Westminster office this morning.

Similar deals are also being signed with Dominica and Grenada.