As a result of all these cheap imports, there was a sharp crisis in the industry in 1967. Matters were brought to a head locally when Eclipse Mill at Feniscowles closed in April 1967. This was an efficient, well-organised mill, which was forced out of business by imported cloth being sold for 9d. a yard (32p) cheaper than the Lancashire firms could manufacture it. By the end of 1967, 65 per cent of textile jobs in Blackburn had disappeared since 1950. There were 26 mills running. Early in 1970, the Labour Government announced a loan scheme to start in June, which would enable smaller firms to modernise their plants, but the Conservative Government, elected in June of the same year, brought the loans to an end. The end of the scheme coincided with the most serious crisis and recession in textiles since the end of the Second World War.
Atlantic Mill closed early in 1971. In November it was announced that the Birtwistle Group would be closing several of their mills, including Abbey Mill at Withnell, and Florence Mill in Blackburn. The Abbey Mill closure received wide coverage in the national press and on television. The Birtwistle Group was taken over by the Manchester based Granston Group. Blackburn mills were now reduced to 20.