Liverpool City Council held its crucial budget meeting tonight against a backdrop of political crisis in the city.

The council is still reeling from the arrest of Mayor Joe Anderson in December and a subsequent government investigation that is due to report back later this month.

Like many cities, Liverpool has faced unprecedented challenges during the course of the Covid-19 pandemic and tonight's meeting aimed to produce a balanced budget as the city tries to move out of the crisis.

The city council, which has already faced £430m cuts in government funding, needs to find a further £15m from its latest budget plan.

It was a typically lively meeting with lots of important decisions that will impact people across Liverpool after the ruling Labour group's budget plan was approved.

Here are seven key things you need to know.

Council Tax is going up

This was always going to happen.

The city council approved the budget proposals of the ruling Labour group tonight, which included a 4.99% increase in Council Tax.

This is the largest increase that is allowed to be brought in without a public vote.

The rise is made up of a 1.99% general increase and a 3% increase to fund the city's struggling social care services.

The government has been coming under fire for effectively forcing councils to implement the maximum increase.

It is felt that by failing to properly fund social care and instead only allowing local authorities to increase the rates for local people - the problem is being forced on to those who are already struggling to get by during the pandemic.

So cash-strapped councils like Liverpool are left with very little choice other than to implement the full rise available.

One Stop Shops closing

Perhaps the most controversial cost-cutting measure in the council's latest budget concerns the city's One Stop Shops.

Located in eight different areas of Liverpool, the One Stop Shops provide a range of different council services to people under one roof.

The council had originally consulted on a plan to close all the One Stop Shops and replace them with pop up facilities in some parts of the city.

However, a revised plan will now see the the number of permanent locations will be cut to two.

£15 million savings agreed

The city Council's budget also includes a further £15m of savings across various departments.

This includes £2m from the sale of ground rents, £200,000 from additional fees and charges for highways services and a £1.35m saving from a review of supported accommodation for adults.

Government investigation report incoming

Tonight's very important budget matters were discussed against a difficult backdrop for the council.

Following the arrest of Mayor Anderson in December and an ongoing police investigation linked to the council, Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick ordered an investigation into the council.

Inspector Max Caller has been carrying out this inspection throughout 2020, looking specifically at the authority's troubled regeneration, property management and planning departments.

Everyone at the council is expecting a tough time with the report, which is likely to be completed later this month.

Addressing the situation tonight, Labour's Acting Mayor Wendy Simon said: "In the near future, a Government inspector will deliver his verdict on an investigation into our planning, highways, regeneration and property management functions and the strength of associated audit and governance arrangements.

"This will make for very difficult reading and will have ramifications for our organisation and the wider city.

"But let me be clear, this is not a failing Council.

"This is a financially sound Council delivering good outcomes for our residents. Our response to the Covid crisis has shown that we are still delivering the crucial services people rely on and pay for - and delivering them well. As does this balanced and ambitious budget that gives a helping hand to those who need it most in our city."

Opposition moving in

It was not surprising to see opposition parties seizing on Labour's problems at this evening's meeting.

As well as criticising the party's budget plan, the other parties made clear their arguments that Labour should no longer be trusted to run the city.

Green leader Tom Crone said the council was now in a 'full blown political crisis', while Lib Dem councillor Kris Brown said the ruling administration had become like something out of a carry on film.

The city's opposition parties will be hoping to capitalise on Labour's well documented problems at May's elections.

Pride in pandemic response

While there were many argument this evening, one thing that the council was united in was praise for the people of the city during the coronavirus pandemic.

Outgoing Lord Mayor Anna Rothery, who was chairing her final meeting as the city's first citizen said she had been hugely impressed by the selfless actions of people all over the city in helping others during the last difficult year.

Acting Mayor Wendy Simon agreed, adding: "In the worst of times we see the very best of people - and in this city - that happens like no other.

Find your nearest vaccination centre by entering your postcode below

"We saw it in the thousands of people who volunteered for our good neighbour programme, helping some of our most vulnerable residents get essentials like food and medicine.

"People who were facing their own problems, whose first thought was how they could help someone else."

Pay rise for Acting Mayor

Another item of business decided at tonight's meeting concerned the pay of the city's current Acting Mayor.

Cllr Wendy Simon stepped up from her role of Deputy Mayor to Acting Mayor after Mayor Anderson stepped aside following his arrest.

An Independent Panel has now recommended that her council allowance should increase to reflect this.

The report suggested Cllr Simon's allowance should more than double from £40,664 to £83,539 to reflect her current work and position.

The move was criticised by the Liberal Democrats, with Cllr Andrew Makinson stating: "An Acting Mayor is simply not the same as an Elected Mayor.

"When all eyes are on our city because of the grotesque chaos of the Labour Party, this will only be seen by taxpayers as a cash grab."

Despite this opposition, the motion was comfortably.