An initiative designed to encourage employers to hire the long-term unemployed is unlikely to be taken up by many companies.

That is according to the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB), which has suggested that employers are probably not going to be persuaded to take on staff because of a "£1,000 ‘Golden Hello’".

The FSB was making its comments in light of a government initiative which offers employers £1,000 for employing someone who has been out of work for six months or more and £1,500 for those companies offering training.

Commenting on the incentive plan, a spokeswoman for the FSB said: "Employers are not likely to be influenced by the £1,000 ‘Golden Hello’. The real winners will be companies who were already taking on staff to fill an existing vacancy.

"This is really a measure to tackle long term employment rather than rising unemployment."

James Purnell, secretary of state for work and pensions, explained that the government was investing £2 billion to help get people back to work.