Number 10 and health secretary Andy Burnham are preparing to launch the long awaited social care white paper on Tuesday.

The white paper will set out government plans to establish a national care service, which it has pledged will end the “postcode lottery” in care for older people and ensure a sustainable stream of funding.

A government source told HSJ Number 10 was hoping to launch the white paper alongside a revised care at home bill.

The bill was originally announced by prime minister Gordon Brown at the Labour Party conference last autumn when he promised to provide free personal care at home from October this year to the 400,000 most vulnerable older people at an annual cost of up to £720m.

The bill was defeated by a cross party coalition of peers in the House of Lords earlier this month who said they were concerned the free care was unaffordable.

The government published its social care green paper last July, setting out five options for funding a national care service.

The option to set up a compulsory social insurance fund requiring contributions of up to £20,000 payable on retirement has proved the most controversial.

The government has estimated a comprehensive national care service would cost an extra £7bn in public spending. One of the options for finding that extra cash include phasing out £3.7bn in non-means tests benefits which are currently paid automatically to people over 65 who are classified as having a disability.

That option has also proved controversial with disability groups. But research for the DH by the London School of Economics has estimated that more than 400,000 current claimants would not actually describe themselves as “disabled” The total of their claims could reach more than £1bn.