"Incentivising the private sector to take on the long term unemployed is a step in the right direction towards much needed reform of the benefits system.

"However, today's proposals will only make a difference if they are introduced in conjunction with successful policies that address the UK's dramatic skills shortages. The onus must be on the government to provide young people with the skills that they need for life in the working world. This needs to happen before the threat of a welfare dependency culture passes from generation to generation."