SHADOW minister for small business and investment Rushanara Ali has visited Keighley.

She met local business leaders in the conference room at the Airedale Shopping Centre.

And she and John Grogan, Labour's Keighley parliamentary candidate, spoke at a gathering in Central Hall celebrating the contribution of the Bangladeshi community to the town.

Ms Ali was the first British Bangladeshi elected to Parliament, and during her visit she revealed that her father had spent two years working and living in Keighley in the 1960s soon after arriving from Bangladesh.

Mr Grogan said "reviving" the town centre was a priority.

He said: "There are things that can be done nationally to help boost town centres, such as the reform of business rates which Labour has promised to do. Locally though we must ramp up our own efforts and try to follow the example of towns like Halifax which have transformed themselves over recent years."

Mr Grogan said the Government, Bradford Council, Keighley Town Council and the local business sector needed to work together more effectively.

He added: "There is much goodwill and good work going on currently and some magnificent local businesses, but the growing number of empty premises indicates we have got to redouble our efforts."