A NEW charging scheme for non-residential social services such as day care and meals has been approved this week.

Detailed consultation with service users helped North Yorkshire County Council develop a scheme that takes account of people's ability to pay the charges.

With the new system in operation from April 1, it is expected that fewer people will be paying for the services they presently receive.

Councillor Murray Naylor, executive member for social services, said that the overhaul of the system had been done to comply with Government rules.

The council will carry out comprehensive assessments on all individuals receiving care in order to determine their ability to pay for the services. "The assessment will go through all the financial details of an individual and apply them to a prescribed formula to determine what they will pay," said Coun Naylor.

At the same time, there will be some increase in the cost of day care and transport services and a new hourly rate for home care services.

The new charge rates have been established following detailed consultation with all service users.

Coun Naylor said: "We have taken account of all the views we received and, although not able to accept all the comments made, I believe we now have a fair scheme."