A MOTION calling for an independent inquiry into coronavirus care home deaths in the Wee County was last week amended by councillors.

The motion was tabled by Labour Group leader Cllr Dave Clark at last Thursday's, September 10, virtual council meeting.

He called for the investigation to "learn from events in an atmosphere of transparency and frankness".

In moving the document, Cllr Clark said that elderly people "people bore a disproportionate brunt of the virus" at care homes in the area.

He added: "Every death is a great loss and it's for that reason that we need to learn lessons so that when the next unknown virus comes along, we can get things nearer to right."

The North Ward representative sought to make clear he was not looking to apportion blame, saying that staff made "difficult decisions in good faith" in a rapidly changing environment.

While many councillors said they echo Cllr Clark's sentiments, a number of concerns were raised around financing the inquiry.

The motion sought to allocate £25,000 from government money provided to help tackle the crisis while further costs would have been met by reserves.

Cllr Martha Benny later saw her amendment to the motion voted for, along with an amendment by Cllr Ellen Forson.

Cllr Benny said: "As much as I echo the sentiments of Cllr Clark's motion, I don't agree that this is the time to do this.

"We are still in the middle of the pandemic with new and climbing numbers on a daily basis."

Rather than an external independent inquiry, the combined amendment from Cllrs Forson and Benny sought to delegate authority to the Audit Committee to review the outcome of an already announced national inquiry into the matter.

The committee will also scrutinise the council's own emergency planning debrief process.

Cllr Benny added: "I believe the amended motion takes us onboard and the full analysis through both the Scottish figures and the scrutiny, we will get a fuller picture of what has happened in Clackmannanshire and beyond."

In his closing remarks, Cllr Clark said he was "profoundly disappointed" with the amendments.

The Scottish Government is expected to launch a national inquiry, covering all care homes in the country.