Louise McKinlay has lived in the Hutton and Shenfield area for the last 27 years, having gone to school in Brentwood before reading European Studies with French and Spanish at Loughborough University. Upon graduating, she went on to gain a Master of Science degree in International Relations.
Louise has been in local government since 2004, when she was first elected to Brentwood Council, where she held various senior lead positions in Planning and Highways before going on to become Leader of the Council in 2009. She held this position for 10 years before stepping down in the summer of 2019. During her time at the helm, Louise took the council from strength to strength, improving and increasing key public services, despite significant reductions in government funding. Under her leadership, she was credited with strengthening the council’s finances and more than doubled the commercial income for the Council whilst also boosting reserves. These achievements saw Council Tax frozen and even reduced in Brentwood whilst she was Leader. In 2017, from over 200 nominations, Louise was shortlisted for the prestigious Leader of the Year Award, as part of the LGiU & CCLA Councillor Achievement Awards.
In 2017, Louise was elected to Essex County Council for the Brentwood Hutton division. She was immediately promoted to Cabinet Member for Finance, before taking on the position of Cabinet Member for Children and Families where she has driven forward an ambitious agenda to support working families across the county, with the key initiatives like the introduction of the highly successful children’s holiday camps and provision of laptops to schools for use by families without access.
Known for her vision and strong leadership, Louise is at the forefront of driving change and improvement in the community. For many years, she has been an ardent supporter of the Hutton Community Centre, securing its future and placing it in the hands of local trustees from across Hutton organisations. Louise has attained grants and funding for the Centre, which have helped it to grow and develop the offer for the nearby area. Active and visible, Louise has built strong relationships with groups and organisations in the community across Hutton, Herongate, Ingrave and West Horndon.
Outside of politics, Louise spent 10 years working in the City, where she ran programmes and projects at leading Investment Banks, winning awards for her work. She is also a company director with her husband, running their family business together. They continue to live in the area with their two young children.