North-west London was one of the hardest hit places in the country when it came to excess deaths during the peak of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) showed that at the height of the outbreak – the week ending April 17 – there were around four times as many deaths as normal.

In Brent, the number of deaths at this time was 358 per cent higher when compared to the same week of previous years going back to 2015.

A similar situation arose in Harrow and Hillingdon – which were grouped together by the ONS – with mortality rates 243 per cent higher than usual.

Carolyn Downs, chief executive of Brent Council, suggested last week that the borough was the “worst affected” in the country, with areas such as Harlesden hit particularly hard.

Both Harrow and Brent have large Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic populations – in Harrow, 58 per cent of residents are from ethnic minority backgrounds, while the figure stands at 64 per cent for Brent.

Statistics have shown that members of these communities are more likely to die from Covid-19-related issues than their white counterparts.

And councillors and community groups from across the region have called for an investigation into the health inequalities that are likely to have contributed to this.

The councils have also been affected financially, with both authorities facing Covid-19-related shortfalls of tens of millions of pounds.

Their administrations have urged the Government to provide additional funding to make up these gaps to avoid the need to cut services.

On Monday (August 3), Cllr Muhammed Butt, leader of Brent Council, issued a statement urging residents to take extra care following a rise in coronavirus cases, which sparked fears of a possible second lockdown.

He said: “I know we all want to get back to doing the things we love. However, we cannot do that if cases continue to rise.

“Let’s not throw away the hard work and sacrifices made by so many of our friends, neighbours and loved ones during lockdown.”

Responding to the ONS data, a spokeswoman for the Government noted its understanding of the impact of this “unprecedented global pandemic” on different societies “will improve as we learn more”.

She said: “At all stages we have been guided by the latest scientific advice, and the action we have taken has allowed us to protect the vulnerable and ensure the NHS was not overwhelmed, even at the virus’ peak.”