Pensions, whether they be public sector pensions or company pensions are a political hot potato at the present time. Thousands of public sector workers balloted for strike action in 2011 when their demands for a fairer deal fell on deaf Government ears. Their strike action brought thousands onto the streets and chaos to schools and Local Authorities, and attracted no small amount of criticism from politicians and newspaper editorials, many pointing out that private sector pensions cost the contributor a lot more and were frequently at risk through the activities of financial speculators, with the contributor potentially losing the majority of their contributions; no such risk faced the public sector pension contributor.
When I began the writing of Deadliest Deal negotiations were taking place between the Government and the pensions industry following a number of high profile company pension collapses in which thousands of private pension contributors had lost every penny they’d paid into their scheme, some after 40 years of contributing. I had the good fortune of a public sector pension at the time, for which I’ll point out my contribution was 11% of salary; however, I was genuinely moved by the plight of those victims of pension loss and decided my first novel would highlight their situation. I’m pleased to say the Government has now put in place a compensation scheme for them.
It is because pensions are so political I decided to use the most iconic symbol of our political system as the cover for the novel (Photograph by Laura-Ann Wells).