CHURCH leaders have pledged to reach out to people after fresh statistics showed that almost a half of all adult Scots said they do not have a religion.

Rev Dr Richard Frazer, Convener of the Church of Scotland's Church and Society Council, said that the Kirk is seeking to adapt to the changing nature of faith in Scotland and that the decline was "not surprising".

He spoke out after The latest Scottish Household Survey reveals that 49.8 per cent of those surveyed said they did not have a religion - up from 40 per cent in 2009.

The Household Survey also found that there was a fall in the number of people aligning themselves with the Church of Scotland, from 34 per cent in 2009 to a quarter of people last year.

Rev Frazer said that the Kirk was taking steps to attract those curious about religion, including through its 'take a pew' series of short films, which discuss the role of the Church in society.

He said: “In our latest "Take a Pew" video, which we recorded in Glencoe recently, I speak to two other ministers about how the church is helping combat the growing problems of social isolation and loneliness in both rural and urban communities among people of all faiths and none.

“It's just one example showing how the activity of congregations throughout Scotland is not confined to church attendance on a Sunday morning, and statistics on religious affiliation tell just a small part of the story.

“It is recognised that people express an openness to faith and spirituality without feeling it necessary to tie that into to affiliation to a church or other recognised faith based organisation."

Rev Frazer added: “Many of the initiatives of the Church of Scotland over recent years have sought to meet people where they are, rather than expecting everyone to come to the church.”

The wide-ranging annual survey provides a snapshot of life in Scotland. It found that there has been an almost three-fold increase in the number of households in the private rented sector since 1999, and recorded more than 2.4 million households in Scotland.

More than half of households had savings in excess of £1,000 - increased from 43 per cent in 2009, while around 61 per cent of homes are owner-occupied.

More than half of adults rated their neighbourhoods as very good places to live, while around a fifth of single parent and single adult households said they do not manage well financially;

Eight in 10 adults had taken part in sport and exercise (including recreational walking) in the past four weeks;

The Scottish Household Survey has been carried out since 1999. It is designed to provide reliable and up-to-date information on the composition, characteristics, attitudes and behaviour of households and individuals.