The government will rule out today what critics have branded a “death tax” to fund social care for the elderly.

The 10 per cent levy on estates had been among the options for funding a new national care service announced by Gordon Brown last autumn.

But health secretary Andy Burnham will unveil a revised list of funding proposals today after the idea came under heavy fire from the Tories.

The social care white paper will promise to remove the “postcode lottery” where councils set their own criteria to decide who qualifies for free care.

The government is expected to pledge to pay the costs of residential care after two years and says it will provide free care in the home for those with the greatest health needs.

However, rather than give details of how the new system will be funded, Mr Burnham is instead due to announce that a national care commission will be appointed to consider detailed plans. People will have different options for contributing, and the service is not expected to become fully operational until the parliament after next.