Priority Areas - A brief background

Concern about Urban Priority Areas (UPAs) first came into the popular consciousness of the Church in the mid-1980s following the publication of the Church of England's Faith in the City report. It highlighted the crisis in many of the UK's poorest communities and called upon the Church and State to intervene.

In the early 1990s the Church of Scotland established the UPA Committee. In 1995, utilising the statistics from the 1991 National Census, 330 UPA parishes were identified. These were parishes where over 10% of the parish population were among the worst off 20% of the population of Scotland. The number of UPAs helped to highlight the extent of poverty but the number was, in reality, too large for the Church to be able to prioritise resources to the very poorest of communities.

In 1999 the General Assembly called for a major review of UPAs, affirmed the mandate for the poor in 2001 and considered two reports in 2002 and 2003 - Holding the Hope, Sharing the Pain. These reports led to the establishment of the Priority Areas Committee in 2003.

Previous reports

2014 Action Plan

2015 Priority Areas Committee Report