I would like to install a device behind a light switch that requires a neutral. Unfortunately, the light switch has no neutral, and it feeds a 6A lighting loop.

light switch wiring

This feeds these sockets:

6A socket

I do not need this circuit at all, but I do need a neutral in the switch. I would like to:

Disconnect the loop at the switch Cap off all of the 6A sockets with a blanking plate In one of the sockets, connect the (now disconnected) loop to neutral

This would mean that the loop wire in the switch would become an extension of neutral, meaning that in the switch I would have a live (that used to be connected to the loop via the switch) and the neutral.

Is this a bad idea?


As I understand it, this wiring methodology is very UK specific (I think it had something to do with a copper shortage during related to the war).

There is no neutral in the switch,there is a live, which is connected to a loop via the switch. This loop goes to all of those weird sockets, and there is a neutral loop in the wall that also connects to those sockets, but not via the switch.

I do not need those sockets, but removing them is not the goal. What I need is a neutral in the switch. What I'm proposing is to open one of the sockets and bridge the switched live, and the neutral. This will mean that in the switch, there will be a live (as there already is), and a wire that is now connected to neutral, giving me a neutral in the switch. Obviously, this will result in the sockets being connected to neutral on both sides, and therefore no longer working, but I am fine with that.

Current state:

current state

Proposed state:

proposed state

I.E., existing wiring is reused in order to get a neutral at the switch location, sacrificing the sockets.

Better view of switch, with labels:

switch wiring

  • It can probably work you can change the wires around. The problem will be with local regulations/electrical code. The switch for the lights might be required to be there, so you might not be allowed to remove it. The same for the outlets, just because you do not use them, they might be required to be there. If the wires are in conduit/tubes instead of in a cable, adding an extra(real) neutral to the switch box might be a better way.
    – crip659
    Commented Jul 11, 2023 at 12:44
  • 1
    Most of the folks here can give some advice based on US electrical code, but given that you are outside the US, it would basically be "best practices" advice, not legal code advice.
    – Huesmann
    Commented Jul 11, 2023 at 12:45
  • 1
    We can't see from the pics what wires belong to what cables, and can't see if there is a ground wire. If you have a normal cable with live/neutral/earth coming from another box (but not being used that way now), and you just want to repurpose that for a regular outlet, and permanently disconnect, remove, cover whatever was fed by these wires, that is probably ok. There must be be some rules, like are you removing a light over a staircase or a required kitchen outlet etc. You haven't told us enough. But by the description, you're removing some unused outlets for wall lamps?
    – jay613
    Commented Jul 11, 2023 at 12:59
  • I'm still trying to figure out why you have two reds & a black in there [& no earth]. Is each side in effect a bus-bar? The picture's too fuzzy to read the labelling on the terminals. & I don't think I've seen a BS546 socket since the 60s;) I know no-one will care - but I live about 400 yards from where that socket will have been made.
    – Tetsujin
    Commented Jul 11, 2023 at 15:34
  • @Tetsujin I think there are actually two loops, independently switched. It's an old flat, so the sixties sounds about right. I didn't even know what they were when I moved in. Nah, facts like that are interesting :)
    – Alex
    Commented Jul 11, 2023 at 15:52

1 Answer 1


In the UK there are fuses and usually switches on the wall plugs, hence two reds, one from the mains and one either the out from the fuse or from the switch or both. They also have breakers on the mains side, very security sure, almost over use. You check the plug fuse if it doesn't work, then the primary and secondary or circuit breaker.

I would be inclined to put blocking clips on the old lamp plug, and pull the 3 wires from the othe 3 pin plug socket if you want another plug, though I'm not sure it's what you want??

I am not, unfortunately, more familiar with UK wiring than that. Europe is different too, not comparable with either the USA or the UK.

Try a YouTube search, they have lots of different region's electrical videos.

  • This makes very little sense. There are no fuses in sockets nor switches on plugs. I simply don't understand your explanation as to why there would be two reds. The later-mentioned plug fuse has nothing to do with it. No plugs are going to be in use. …and what's a blocking clip?
    – Tetsujin
    Commented Jul 11, 2023 at 17:11
  • Thank you, but the goal is to have a neutral in the switch box, without running any extra cable, and I'm happy to sacrifice the old sockets to get it.
    – Alex
    Commented Jul 11, 2023 at 17:20

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